Biomedicine

Novel Anti-Myopia Eyedrop

Principal Investigator:Suh-Hang Juo, Ph.D.
Abstract 

Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is a common eye disease, and it is also a major cause of blindness. High myopia (worse than -5 diopters) significantly increases the chance of getting serious complications including macular damage, retinal detachment, glaucoma, premature cataract and others, which can lead to blindness. Atropine is currently the only effective drug to slow down myopia progression; unfortunately, its side effects can be quite significant; patients’ pupils are dilated, and it not only causes photophobia but also increases the photo-damage to the eyes, especially the retina region, from elevated UV light exposure.

Our team has identified microRNA-328 (miR-328) as a key risk factor for myopia. Consequently, suppression of over-expressed miR-328 is a reasonable approach to treat myopia. We have designed an effective anti-sense to “neutralize” over-expressed miR-328, and the anti-sense is delivered as eyedrop to successfully treat myopia in mice and rabbits. More importantly, our anti-sense is more effective than atropine in animal studies. The safety studies show that our novel eyedrop does not cause any side effect in the eyes or in the body. In addition, our eyedrop does not dilate the pupil. This invention is particularly important for the Asian population who are high risk for myopia.

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Team Introduction

The team comprises the top elites in the biotech industrial and academic sectors. The members include graduates from Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, National Taiwan University and Chang-Gung University (in Taiwan). They have diverse backgrounds including clinical ophthalmology, biotech startups, genetics, patent strategic planning, finance, chemical manufacture, etc. The experienced senior staff have been entrusted with the task of understanding market’s needs and regulations in order to facilitate the development of the novel drug for treating myopia.

Goals and Plan

The goals of the project are to finish all necessary pre-clinical experiments and  bring the preclinical compound through IND and clinical trials.

Entry Barrier

We have identified the lead compound and filed the worldwide patents for IP protection. This lead compound uses RNA interfering mechanism to influence multiple genes related to myopia development. The novel mechanism to treat myopia, patent filing and RNA interfering technique form barriers to entry to protect our innovative drug invention and restrict competition in the market.

Market Size

The prevalence of myopia has been rapidly increasing, especially in the Asian countries; in some major westernized cities, the prevalence has reached 85%. The estimated current myopia population is around 1.4 billion, and the market size is over 60 billion US dollars.

Video Introduction