Leuven, April 23, 2015 - ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels:THR), an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative medicines for the treatment of vitreo-retinal diseases, today announces that it is evaluating JETREA® (ocriplasmin) as a potential treatment for Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO).
RVO is the third indication ThromboGenics has underway for JETREA®.
The new research will build on earlier ThromboGenics Phase IIa data pointing out the potential of ocriplasmin (formerly known as microplasmin) for the treatment of peripheral arterial occlusions. With this new vitreo-retinal project, ThromboGenics will demonstrate the potential of using locally delivered ocriplasmin for lysing the blood clots (in the retinal veins) that are responsible for this sight threatening condition.
In support of this research, ThromboGenics has secured a €0.6 million grant from the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT). The Company will use this grant to evaluate ocriplasmin's ability to lyse the clots that cause RVO by local intravenous administration of this thrombolytic agent in pre-clinical models of the disease. For that, the Company will collaborate with the Ophthalmology Department of the University Hospital UZLeuven in Belgium.
The grant will also support a partnership of ThromboGenics with the Mechanical Engineering Department of the KU Leuven. The Department is developing a robotic-assisted system which has the capacity to deliver local administration of ocriplasmin in the retinal veins.
At present, there is no treatment option for clearing retinal veins of RVO-patients. The current standard of care for RVO primarily focuses on the treatment of visual impairment due to macular edema resulting from an existing retinal vein occlusion (central or branch retinal vein occlusion). Although the current treatment paradigm improves the vision of the patient, it comes with a relatively high cost associated with continued drug administrations and follow up by the physician.
"Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) is known to be the second most common retinal vascular disease, and thought to negatively impact the quality of life of 16 million patients worldwide, says Prof Dr Peter Stalmans of the Department of Ophthalmology of UZLeuven. RVO, caused by the formation of clots in either the central retinal vein or in branch retinal veins, profoundly affects visual acuity. I'm looking forward to work with ThromboGenics and the robotics experts from the Mechanical Engineering Department of KU Leuven, for the evaluation of ocriplasmin as a potential new treatment of RVO," he concludes.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, said, "We are very happy to announce the start of the development of JETREA® for this third indication. We believe that, when delivered locally, the proven clot busting capabilities of JETREA® really hold the potential for our drug to become an effective treatment for the many patients globally who suffer from RVO."