Langer's Kala touts positive results for topical wet AMD treatment

Kala's mucosal-penetrating technology helps deliver drug molecules into the eye.--Courtesy of Kala

Kala Pharmaceuticals is developing a novel way to get drugs into the eye, and the company notched some positive results in preclinical studies, finding that its platform led to higher drug concentration for a retinal treatment.

Using its proprietary mucosal-penetrating particle (MPP) technology, Kala can topically deliver a small molecule receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, designed to treat wet age-related macular degeneration, which can cause loss of vision.

In a study of non-pigmented rabbits, Kala found that its MPP formulation presented 5-fold enhancement in retinal drug concentration compared to standard delivery, all while being well-tolerated and reducing vascular leakage.

Kala unveiled its results at this week's Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting, and the company believes the early promise shows hope for highly effective, non-invasive wet AMD treatments.

"Today, wet age-related macular degeneration is treated primarily with frequent intraocular injections, which are associated with potential risks to patients, as well as significant discomfort and inconvenience," CMO Kim Brazzell said in a statement. "By applying our MPP technology, Kala has demonstrated the potential to create a first-of-its-kind, non-invasive treatment for wet AMD."

Kala, co-founded by the ever-present MIT professor Robert Langer, nailed down an $11.5 million funding round in February. That cash should cover the company through the year, CEO Guillaume Pfefer told FierceBiotech, after which Kala plans to start human trials for the wet AMD treatment.

So far, wet AMD has made a mint for Regeneron ($REGN), which has been raking in cash from Eylea sales since winning FDA approval in 2011, scoring regulatory nods around the world ever since. Roche ($RHHBY) was the previous standard-bearer with Lucentis, but if Kala's non-invasive treatment can keep pace through clinical trials the company could be sitting on the next blockbuster treatment for the vision-stealing condition.

- read the announcement