New Oral Drug Candidate For Diabetic Eye Disease

Verseon presents oral drug candidate for diabetic eye disease that could replace eye injections

April 30, 2019

Fremont, Calif.—Verseon presented promising preclinical data for their first diabetic eye disease development candidate for clinical trials at this week’s ARVO 2019 annual meeting in Vancouver. This new drug candidate for oral dosing could lead to the first real alternative to eye injections, the current standard of care for millions of diabetics at risk of losing their eye sight.

Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a leading cause of adult blindness, affecting about one in three long-term diabetes patients. With the prevalence of diabetes on the rise around the globe, preventing complications like DME is becoming increasingly urgent. However, the current standards of care for DME are regular injections into the eye—treatments that are associated with side effects including inflammation and infection and that work poorly or not at all in about half of patients. Recent studies have also shown that 25% of patients fail to follow up with their eye injections, leaving them at risk of eventual vision loss.

Verseon’s new development candidate, which is aimed for oral administration, has the potential to fill a large unmet need for both treatment and prevention of DME.

At ARVO 2019, Dr. Melissa Calton, Verseon’s Program Manager of Ophthalmology, presented preclinical data for the Company’s lead development candidate for clinical trials from their new class of small-molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors. In preclinical models, the compound showed good efficacy against two important drivers of the disease—the kallikrein and VEGF pathways—following administration of a single oral dose.

“What’s most exciting about our DME candidates isn’t just that they may replace eye injections, but that they could give doctors an opportunity to prevent diabetes patients from developing DME in the first place,” said Dr. Calton. “Its excellent pharmacokinetic profile sets our development candidate apart from other candidates, making it suitable for administration as a pill. We are very encouraged by our preclinical results and are working to bring this candidate into clinical trials.”

About Verseon’s diabetic macular edema program

Verseon has developed a new class of potent, selective small-molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), a major cause of adult blindness. In contrast to current customary DME treatments that are administered as recurring eye injections, Verseon develops drug candidates for oral dosing. Several lead candidates have demonstrated efficacy in reducing retinal thickening and retinal leakage, two hallmarks of the disease, when administered orally. The Company is currently preparing a first DME development candidate for phase 1 trials.

About Verseon

Verseon Corporation ( is a technology-based pharmaceutical company that pairs a proprietary, computational drug discovery platform with a comprehensive in-house chemistry and biology workflow to develop novel therapeutics that are unlikely to be found using conventional methods. The Company is applying its platform to a growing drug pipeline and currently has drug programs in the areas of anticoagulation, diabetic macular edema, hereditary angioedema, and oncology.

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