Ocular Therapeutix' travoprost eye delivery system, OTX-TP2, released drug consistently over two months and cut pressure inside the eye in people with glaucoma and ocular hypertension, according to Phase II results announced by the company this week.
Getting patients to use eye drops every day is a tough call, as they are not easy to use, especially as people get older; this means compliance isn't good. Ocular Therapeutix gets around this by formulating the drug, travoprost, in tiny plugs that are inserted into the tear ducts (puncta) by a doctor and release the drug over a longer period. These are known as intracanalicular or punctum plugs, and are biodegradable, so they don't need to be removed at the end of the period.
In the South African Phase II study, twenty patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension were given the punctum plugs and the researchers saw a fall in eye pressure. One of the concerns raised about the use of plugs in the tear duct is an increase in 'tearing' as the drainage channels are blocked, but patients didn't seem to be troubled by it in this study.
"Achieving clinically meaningful IOP reduction over a two-month period with single-dose administration is a tremendous achievement" stated Amar Sawhney, president and CEO of Ocular Therapeutix.
While analysts have been skeptical about the use of punctum plugs in the past, there is a need for treatment formulations that will improve compliance, as untreated and poorly-treated glaucoma and ocular hypertension can lead to vision loss and blindness.
- read the press release