SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Edison Pharmaceuticals
announced today that it has entered into collaboration with the Institute
of Vision, Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the development of
drugs targeting Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON is an
inherited disease affecting vision, whose onset is sudden, without warning,
and results in blindness. There are no treatments.
LHON arises from impairments in energy production in the eye. It is
caused by genetic defects in the mitochondria -- the cellular structure
responsible for energy generation. While in relative terms a rare disease,
a renewed interest in LHON has been sparked by both the emergence of
potential mitochondrial therapies and LHON's relationship to more common
retinal diseases that may share similar biochemical mechanisms.
Edison is teaming with the Institute of Vision and its LHON
international consortium of researchers and clinicians to enable evaluation
of Edison's drugs that target inherited mitochondrial diseases. Founded in
2001, this consortium is represented by over 37 members worldwide, and has
authored benchmark clinical and scientific papers on LHON.
The Institute of Vision and its LHON consortium scientists have been
working to understand LHON, its cause and progression to enable the
development of new treatments. "Given our access to an extensive pedigree
of patients with LHON residing in Brazil, the Institute of Vision has
served as a center for LHON investigations," stated Dr. Rubens Belfort Jr.,
Professor and President of the Institute of Vision. "Our goal is to expand
our knowledge of LHON, thereby developing new diagnostic tests and drugs
for LHON and related mitochondrial diseases of the eye."
"The Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California is a
founding and participating member of the LHON consortium," stated Alfredo
Sadun, MD, PhD, Professor of Ophthalmology, Doheny Eye Institute. "Having
laid the groundwork over the last five years in aggregating and evaluating
this unique patient population, we are enthusiastic about applying this
knowledge to the development of mitochondrial drugs."
Today there are no treatments for LHON, however with an increased
understanding of mitochondrial disease, new potential therapies are
emerging. Through its internal discovery efforts and through collaboration
with Columbia University, University of Southern California Doheny Eye
Institute and the University of Bologna, Edison is evaluating new classes
of potential drugs for mitochondrial diseases that affect the eye.
"Edison has been working with several members of the LHON international
consortium for over a year, and is extending its ophthalmologic program to
the Institute of Vision in Brazil," stated Guy Miller, CEO, Edison. "As
many mitochondrial diseases, including LHON, have significant visual
disturbances associated with them, we see this effort has having broad
therapeutic applications for drugs under development at Edison."
About Edison Pharmaceuticals
Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is focused on the development of drugs to
treat inherited respiratory chain diseases of the mitochondria -- also
referred to as energy impairment diseases. The company has received Orphan
Designation status by the Food & Drug Administration for EPI-A0001 for
inherited respiratory chain diseases and is advancing this candidate into
clinical development. Edison Pharma possesses a specialized working
knowledge in redox pharmacology and translational biology pertaining to
bioenergetics and disease. The company's business is focused on orphan
products, which treat diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 individuals
in the US. Edison has obtained substantial non-dilutive peer-reviewed
support to advance both its pre-clinical and clinical initiatives from
foundations and government organizations including the Friedreich's Ataxia
Research Alliance, the National Institutes of Health Rapid Access to
Interventional Development (RAID) Pilot Program, Cure Huntington's Disease
Initiative, Inc., Muscular Dystrophy Association, Seek A Miracle/MDA and
the City of San Jose, CA.
SOURCE Edison Pharmaceuticals, Inc.