iCura Vision Licenses First-in-Class Therapeutic Program to Treat Dry Macular Degeneration from Columbia University in Collaboration with National Institutes of Health

- Promising medication targets growing population of more than 1.8 million Americans who suffer from the advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration

- NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network and the National Eye Institute to provide funding through Phase I

- Oral formulation offers greater patient acceptance over intraocular injection

- Rich pipeline of diverse oral compounds

- Currently no FDA-approved treatments available

Jan 28, 2015, 03:46 ET from iCura Vision

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- iCura Vision and Columbia Technology Ventures announced today that iCura Vision has licensed the intellectual property portfolio and associated research and development program for a promising oral medication intended to slow or halt the progression of "dry" Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  The company intends to place the first of these candidates, ICR-14967, into clinical phase development in 2016.

AMD affects more Americans than Alzheimer's disease. AMD is a degenerative condition that can severely impair visual function; it is the leading cause of age-related blindness in the United States. Eventually, many patients lose the ability to read, to handle day-to-day tasks such as cooking or driving, or even recognize the faces of their loved ones.  Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for dry AMD.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, the NIH's Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, which has funded the medication's discovery and early development, will continue to provide financial support through Phase 1.

"Dry AMD is a disabling disease with a poorly understood pathology and few treatment options," said Dr. Thomas Greenwell, a program director at the National Eye Institute and Science Officer on the project.  "Once a person loses vision from dry AMD, there is little that can be done to slow the process."

ICR 14967, will be taken orally. It is one of a rich pipeline of compounds covered under the agreement. It works by reducing the delivery to the eye of retinol, a key component of vision, which in excess, leads to the formation of toxic byproducts that build up under the retina to produce dry AMD.

"The compound has benefited from years of successful development within Columbia, and it is gratifying to see it have the chance to proceed down the path towards a treatment for this major disease," said Orin Herskowitz, Executive Director, Columbia Technology Ventures. 

"This licensing agreement shows how government, academia, and industry can collaborate to transform a promising basic research discovery into a potentially life-transforming treatment," said Dr. Rajesh Ranganathan, Director of the Office of Translational Research at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

"Imagine a life where you couldn't enjoy the sunset, cook your favorite food, or even recognize the face of your grandchild as she walked in the door," said Dr. Konstantin Petrukhin, Associate Professor of Ophthalmic Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center and iCura Vision co-founder.

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SOURCE iCura Vision