|Courtesy of National Eye Institute, NIH|
Ophthalmology company Clearside Biomedical just announced a $20 million Series C financing round to develop its proprietary formulation of triamcinolone acetonide that's delivered into the eye's suprachoroidal space via a microinjector, which it says is 10 times shorter than those used to administer drugs into the middle of the eye.
Most eye drugs are injected into the eye's intravitreal chamber, but Alpharetta, GA's Clearside believes that delivery into the suprachoroidal space (located between the sclera and choroid) avoids some of the risks of intravitreal delivery including vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, and the proliferation of visual "floaters"--while still enabling access to posterior segment ocular tissue.
The drugs are inserted into the sclera, and then make their way into the suprachoroidal space according to a company video.
Clearside is executing three clinical trials for the combination product, including a Phase III and Phase II study of patients with macular edema associated with noninfectious uveitis. The trial is currently recruiting patients, according to ClinicalTrials.Gov. Also under way are Phase II trials of the formulation for use in conjunction with an injected VEGF inhibitor to treat macular edema associated with retinal vein occlusion.
Uveitis causes about 10% of the incidence of blindness in the U.S. and affects about 350,000 Americans.
Earlier this year, Clearside said the 8 noninfectious uveitis patients in a Phase I/II trial of the therapy demonstrated improvement in a test of vision that uses an eye chart associated with diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
"Delivery of drug to the suprachoroidal space may provide therapeutic effect close to the source of retinal and choroidal pathology, which may in turn have an impact on the dose required to achieve a benefit, as well as on the duration of effect," Dr. Debra Goldstein, professor of ophthalmology and director of Uveitis Service at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said at the time, in a statement
The $20 million financing consisted of existing investors and new investors Aju IB Investment, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors and Rock Springs Capital Management.
"We are delighted to add this outstanding group of preeminent scientific and life science investors as financial partners to Clearside," said company CEO Daniel White in a statement. "This financing is another step in the further clinical development of Clearside's pipeline to treat blinding diseases like uveitis, retinal vein occlusion and wet age-related macular degeneration using Clearside's proprietary SCS (suprachoroidal space) Microinjector to administer drug to the posterior segment of the eye."
- read the release