Eye on Five – February Edition

Envisia Candidate Achieves Endpoint for IOP Lowering

Envisia Therapeutics released Phase II results showing that its ENV515 candidate (travoprost XR) achieved clinically meaningful intraocular pressure (IOP) reduction over the 11-month trial period. ENV515 also demonstrated an IOP-lowering effect comparable to pre-study topical prostaglandin analogs and in-study topical timolol 0.5%. Envisa president Benjamin Yerxa presented the data at the Glaucoma 360 New Horizion’s Forum in San Francisco.

Ohr Suspends Enrollment in Squalamine Phase III

Ohr Pharmaceutical has suspended enrollment in the Phase III clinical trial of its lead drug candidate squalamine 0.2% for treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). CEO Jason Slakter, MD, said the study will continue for the 200 patients already enrolled. Ohr plans to have prospective efficacy data before the end of the year, Dr. Slakter added. Ohr board member Thomas Riedhammer said the strategy “is the best way to … maximize shareholder value and preserve company assets.”

J&J Unit Licenses Non-surgical Cataract Platform

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has licensed a non-surgical cataract candidate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Polymer physicist Murugappan Muthukumar, PhD, has been developing a technology focused on the aggregation of light scatter in a cataractous lens. The presbyopia/cataracts venture team in Janssen’s Disease Interception Accelerator unit is overseeing the venture with UMass.

Valeant, EyeGate Add to Licensing Agreement

Valeant Pharmaceuticals and EyeGate Pharmaceuticals have added an indication for pain and inflammation after eye surgery to their licensing agreement for the EyeGate II Delivery System and EGP-437 combination candidate. Valeant’s Bausch + Lomb unit will gain commercial and manufacturing rights for the indication. In 2015, EyeGate licensed the delivery system and EGP-437 to Valeant for treatment of uveitis. Hear our recent podcast with CEO Stephen From here.

Watson Can Now Detect Glaucoma

IBM researchers in Australia have trained the artificial intelligence platform Watson to detect abnormalities in retinal photographs to identify back-of-the-eye diseases like AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma earlier than can existing strategies. Investigators at the University of Melbourne fed Watson 88,000 retina images. Through deep-learning techniques, Watson was able to measure the optic cup-to-disc ratio and determine signs of glaucoma with up to 95% accuracy.