Eye on Five – March Edition

Ora Retained to Develop Cannabinoids for Eye Disease

Ora Inc., a global contract research organization that specializes in ophthalmology, took the plunge into medical marijuana when AXIM Biotechnologies, a cannabinoid research and development firm, retained Ora to handle its product development and clinical trials for potential glaucoma and dry eye treatments utilizing cannabinoid-based therapeutics. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds the marijuana flowers secrete and have been known to relieve pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.

Aerie Resubmits Rhopressa NDA

Aerie Pharmaceuticals resubmitted its New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA for its glaucoma agent Rhopressa 0.2% (netarsudil) after it received notice from its contract manufacturer that the vendor’s Tampa facility is ready for pre-approval inspection. Aerie withdrew the previous NDA for Rhopressa last October because the contract manufacturer wasn’t ready for the inspection. Rhopressa inhibits both rho kinase (ROCK) and norepinephrine transporter (NET) to lower intraocular pressure by facilitating aqueous outflow via the trabecular meshwork.

Allergan Enters Genome Editing with Editas Medicine Partnership

Allergan made a play in the genome-editing space in ophthalmology with its licensing agreement to develop genome-editing programs with Editas Medicine to treat retinal diseases. Editas is one of the leading players in the CRISPR genome-editing space. Under the agreement, Allergan gains exclusive access and the option to license up to five of Editas’ genome-editing ocular programs, including its lead program for Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA10), currently in preclinical development.

Minn. Eye + Waud Capital = National Network

Minnesota Eye Consultants, the multi-specialty, seven-office ophthalmology practice founded by Richard Lindstrom, MD, has partnered with the private equity group Waud Capital Partners. Their plan is to create a new entity, United Vision Partners, that will serve as a platform for a national network of providers.

Alcon Adds Multifocal Toric to AcrySof IQ ReSTOR Line

Alcon received FDA approval for the latest iteration in the line of its AcrySof IQ ReSTOR intraocular lenses (IOLs), the AcrySof IQ ReSTOR +2.5 multifocal toric with ActiveFocus optical design. Alcon claims this is the only multifocal toric IOL in which the central portion is 100% dedicated to distance vision. Alcon plans to commercialize the ActiveFocus toric IOL in the US beginning in mid-year.