Circadian Technologies has published data in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) showing that VEGF-C expression is markedly up-regulated in corneal graft rejection. The data also showed that VEGF-C blockade, through administration of Circadian's lead development candidate VGX-100, a human antibody against VEGF-C, significantly improved corneal graft survival in an animal model. The data indicates a new therapeutic opportunity for VGX-100 to improve corneal graft survival.
While most corneal grafts take very well, it is estimated that between 10% and 30% of grafts will be rejected within six to 12 months, particularly in "at-risk" patients who have a highly vascularized eye bed or in whom a graft has previously failed. The study, which was led by Professor Reza Dana and Dr Amir R. Hajrasouliha of the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School department of ophthalmology, showed that VEGF-C was markedly up-regulated in rejected corneas and that administration of VGX-100 was able to significantly improve corneal graft survival.
"Corneal grafting can have enormously positive results for patients who may otherwise become blind. While grafting success has improved significantly over the past 20 years, there are still a large number of grafts which continue to fail,” said Dana, senior author of the study. “Our findings demonstrating that VEGF-C is up-regulated in graft failure and that blockade of VEGF-C could significantly improve graft survival and identify VEGF-C blockade as an exciting new therapeutic possibility for improving corneal graft survival."
Cicadian Technologies is currently undertaking additional preclinical studies with VGX-100 in the corneal grafting setting with the aim to commence clinical trials in 2013.