Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be treated by Acucela’s visual cycle modulator ACU-4429

Acucela Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company, presently focusing on visual cycle modulation (VCM) to develop new methods for treating blinding eye diseases that affect tens of millions of people worldwide.

The company’s orally-delivered VCM therapies, which selectively target cells within the retina to protect visual acuity, have the potential to be used to treat several devastating eye diseases, including dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinopathy of prematurity, Stargardt disease and diabetic retinopahy.

ACU-4429 utilizes Acucela’s proprietary visual cycle modulation (VCM) technology, and is designed to prevent or inhibit the generation of toxic by-products of the visual cycle that can lead to degenerative eye conditions like dry AMD.

Preclinical data indicate that ACU-4429 slows the rod visual cycle, resulting in decreased accumulation of a toxic by-product that is the precursor of lipofuscin, which are deposits of toxic substances.

ACU-4429 is administered to patients as an oral, daily pill rather than by injection into the eye, which is typical of many current eye therapeutics.

ACU-4429, as a potential oral treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), will be featured at the Aegean Retina XI Meeting being held in Crete, Greece from July 3 to 5, 2009.

Enrollment in the Phase 1 trial of ACU-4429 was completed in June 2009 and complete data from this trial are expected in the fourth quarter of this year. Based on the promising results obtained in the Phase 1 trial, Acucela is looking forward to enter into a Phase 1b and then a Phase 2 trial of ACU-4429 later this year.

According to Ryo Kubota, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Acucela and discoverer of the gene that causes glaucoma, dry AMD is a particularly concerning disease related to aging, yet there are currently no approved therapies to treat dry AMD. It is believed that the new approach to visual cycle modulation will offer new hope to patients suffering from this condition.

Source: Business Wire

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