News Feature | March 10, 2014

ThromboGenics Receives €3 Million IWT Grant For DME Research

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By Estel Grace Masangkay

Integrated biopharmaceutical company ThromboGenics has been awarded a €3 million grant from the Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The grant will be used by ThromboGenics, which is focused on developing and marketing novel ophthalmic treatments for the back of the eye, in the research of potential innovative biotherapeutics for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME).

Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, said “The award of this grant from IWT will enable us to continue to progress our research activities in the field of diabetic eye disease. We believe that by gaining a greater understanding of this novel pathway we may be able to discover and develop new biotherapeutics that could play a key role in the treatment of diabetic macular edema. DME is a very prevalent condition where there is still scope to improve on the clinical outcomes delivered by current treatment options including laser coagulation, anti-VEGF antibodies and steroids.”

The company plans to use the funding to support research in better understanding the role of a new pathway in DME for discovery of new pre-clinical therapeutic candidates. The new therapeutics’ goal will be the reduction of vascular leakage and inflammation central to the condition.

DME is caused by fluid leakage into the central part of the retina responsible for clear central vision. The condition is common in patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. DME can lead to moderate to severe vision loss. Around 21 million people worldwide have DME. More than 20% of patients with Type 1 diabetes and around 14% to 25% of people with Type 2 diabetes will develop DME within ten years.

The novel pathway targeted by ThromboGenics is thought to play a critical role in DME development as it modulates vascular leakage and inflammation. A significant part of the grant funded work will be the development of new in vitro assays and in vivo models. These will be used to identify biotherapeutics which activate the pathway. “This will allow the Company to identify pre-clinical candidates that meet a target product profile based around in vitro potency, in vivo efficacy and drug like properties. These new candidates will be generated by ThromboGenics leveraging the AMP-Rx protein design technology which the company licensed from Eleven Biotherapeutics in May 2013,” the company said in its press release.