Lausanne, Switzerland–Gene Signal, a company focused on developing innovative drugs to manage angiogenesis based conditions, today announced the publication of interim results from a phase II study suggesting that the antisense oligonucleotide GS-101 (eye drops) is safe and effective at inhibiting and regressing corneal neovascularisation (abnormal new blood vessel growth). Neovascularisation in this part of the eye is a major risk factor in corneal graft rejection, the most common transplantation procedure that saves the sight of approximately 46,000 people worldwide each year.
The data were published in the September 2009 issue of Ophthalmology by researchers led by Claus Cursiefen, MD, from the Department of Ophthalmology at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Erlangen, Germany. Gene Signal is now conducting an international phase III trial with GS-101 for the prevention of pathologic corneal neovascularisation and thereby corneal graft rejection. GS-101 has been granted Orphan Drug status for this indication in Europe.
"Compared to the placebo group in which 100% of patients suffered from progression of corneal neovascularisation, the optimal GS-101 treatment group showed regression in 86% of patients. We are very encouraged by these results as they represent real progress in the development of GS-101 as a new treatment to combat corneal graft rejection," explained Dr. Claus Cursiefen of the Department of Ophthalmology, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. "We urgently need new options for the thousands of graft recipients, whose current treatment options for threatened rejection such as immunosuppressants are not ideal due to side effects. GS-101 is the first specific angiogenesis inhibitor that has demonstrated activity at the anterior part of the eye, where numerous diseases associated with pathologic angiogenesis endanger vision."