Gene Signal, a Swiss company focused on developing innovative drugs to manage angiogenesis-based conditions, announced on May 8, 2012 that positive data from a study of aganirsen (GS-101, eye drops) in a nonhuman primate model of choroidal neovascularization has been presented at the 2012 ARVO Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Topical administration of aganirsen was found to inhibit neovascular growth and leakage in this model and strongly suggests a role for the drug candidate in human retinal neovascular diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and ischemic retinopathy. Gene Signal's aganirsen is an antisense oligonucleotide that is expected to complete a phase III trial for the treatment of progressive neovascularization in the cornea in 2012. Clinical studies in retinal diseases are schedule to begin during the second quarter of 2012. "This study demonstrates the ability of aganirsen to address neovascularization formation in the retina by inhibiting the expression of the angiogenic protein IRS-1. Importantly, this is achieved without affecting normal vascularisation," noted Dr. Matthew Lawrence of RxGen, Inc, who presented the data. "With the demand for new, effective antiangiogenic agents that are easier to use in the treatment of several eye diseases growing, we believe these data strongly support a role for aganirsen." Aganirsen blocks pathological neovascularization by inhibiting IRS-1. Clinical studies to date have shown that aganirsen is able to safely and effectively inhibit the development of progressive corneal neovascularization secondary to infectious keratitis or chemical burns, both of which could lead to corneal graft replacement. "A topical agent for neovascular disease would revolutionize treatment.
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