Jun 04, 2019
Fremont, Calif.—Verseon is developing the first oral medication for diabetic macular edema (DME). These drug candidates could become a real alternative to eye injections, the current standard of care for millions of diabetics at risk of vision loss. At this week’s 2019 BIO International Convention in Philadelphia, the Company presented their lead oral drug candidates.
DME, a leading cause of adult blindness, is a complication of diabetes with over 20 million diagnosed patients worldwide. It is estimated that about one third of long-term diabetic patients are at risk of developing DME, a group that is expected to grow significantly as the global diabetic population escalates from roughly 425 million to over 600 million over the next 25 years.
The current standard of care for DME are recurring injections into the eye associated with discomfort, infection, and inflammation, and that are only effective in about half of patients. Given the risk profile and invasiveness of administration, these drugs are not appropriate for preventative treatment in chronic diabetics at risk. There is a large unmet need for better medications for treating, and ideally preventing, DME. Verseon’s oral DME program is aimed at meeting this need.
To address this problem, Verseon is developing the first oral medications for DME. At the BIO International Convention, Dr. Anirban Datta, Verseon’s Senior Director of Discovery Biology, presented preclinical data on the Company’s first development candidate for clinical trials.
Verseon’s drug candidates target plasma kallikrein, a central mediator of the disease that is not covered by current drugs. In preclinical studies, these compounds have demonstrated excellent oral bioavailability and successfully inhibited both retinal thickening and retinal vascular leakage, two hallmarks of DME. This combination makes them promising candidates for a new generation of oral DME drugs that could potentially open up a $96 billion annual global market for treatment and prophylaxis.
“Our oral development candidate has the potential to redefine how DME is treated,” said Dr. Datta. “Not only could it replace inconvenient eye injections, but it may even become the first-ever drug to help prevent the onset of DME. Ultimately, we’re aiming to stop vision loss before it starts.”
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 vascular leakage, two hallmarks of the disease, when administered orally. The Company is currently preparing a first DME development candidate for phase 1 trials.
Verseon Corporation (www.verseon.com, AIM: VSN) is developing disruptive life-science technology to advance global health. The clinical-stage company is using its proprietary, computational drug discovery platform to discover new drug candidates that are unlikely to be found using conventional methods. Pairing its computational platform with a comprehensive in-house chemistry and biology workflow, the company has built a growing pipeline of drug programs. Verseon currently has four active drug programs in the areas of anticoagulation (currently in phase 1), diabetic macular edema, hereditary angioedema, and oncology.
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