KalVista Pharmaceuticals has enlisted the help of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to further a novel approach KalVista is developing to preserve vision and slow progression of eye disease in type 1 diabetics.
JDRF will provide up to $2.2 million in milestone payments and research expertise to KalVista. The companies hope to advance KalVista’s lead pre-clinical candidate, a plasma kallikrein inhibitor, into human proof-of-concept clinical trials and to generate clinical data that would highlight its potential as an entirely new approach to treating diabetic macular edema (DME).
Plasma kallikrein is an enzyme (a serine protease) that has been identified as a potential therapeutic target in people with diabetic retinopathy. A previous KalVista-JDRF collaboration demonstrated that plasma kallikrein is increased and activated in the vitreous fluid of people with DME. This lead to the current hopes for kallikrein inhibitors.
"JDRF's goal is to have the greatest and fastest positive impact on individuals with type 1 diabetes, which is why we are working to accelerate the translation of novel discoveries in the lab, through clinical evaluation of safety and efficacy, and into commercial development," said Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., assistant vice president of treatment therapies for JDRF. "What makes our collaboration with KalVista so exciting is that we are gradually seeing this novel therapy, which could represent a whole new approach to treating DME, move from basic research discovery into a potential commercially viable drug with the help of JDRF funding."