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Journal of visual impairment and blindness JVIB > News and Information > Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) Breaking News From the Field > Details

Biomedical-Development Firm Acquires Research Company Behind Eye Drops Designed to Cure Glaucoma

(Item posted 01/13/2016)

Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago have been working to develop eye drops that might one day cure glaucoma in adults and children. Glaucoma blocks the drainage of fluid from the eye, and built-up pressure can damage the retina and the optic nerve, causing vision loss. Using a mouse model of glaucoma, researchers have identified a chemical signaling pathway that is essential for the growth, development, and proper functioning of Schlemm's canal, which is the vessel that is essential for proper drainage in the eye. The pathway requires a substance called Tie2 and a growth factor called angiopoietin. If either was missing, the mice were not able to make Schlemm's canals and developed glaucoma, according to the study that revealed this finding, which was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2014. "Now we know these two substances are key factors in the development of glaucoma, which wasn't known before," said senior author of the study Susan Quaggin, chief of the Division of Nephrology and director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute at Northwestern. "This . . . big step forward in understanding the cause of the disease. . . . gives us a foothold to develop new treatments."

The researchers acknowledge that animal studies often fail to produce similar results in humans, but they say their findings are expected to be relevant for people with glaucoma. "The mouse model is so similar to what we see in patients with glaucoma," said Dr. Quaggin. "Now we can understand how raised pressure leads to the damage of the neurons in the optic nerve." Dr. Quaggin and her team at Mannin Research have developed MAN-01, a unique molecule delivered through an eye drop that is designed to repair the flow of fluid in the eye by growing new vessels to improve drainage and lower eye pressure.

Mannin Research was recently acquired by Q BioMed, a biomedical acceleration and development company that is focused on acquiring companies and biomedical assets. Q is supporting the development of this "first-in-class" therapeutic eye drop for the treatment of glaucoma, and it has indicated that, if or when approved for use in the United States, the projected cost for the eye drops will be approximately $1,000 per individual per year. For more information, contact: Q BioMed, 501 Madison Ave, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10022; phone: 888-357-2435; e-mail: info@qbiomed.com; website: http://qbiomed.com. [Information for this piece came from the November 20, 2015, Market Scope article, "Q BioMed Licenses Glaucoma Eye Drop Candidate Being Developed by Mannin," by Joan McKenna; and the September 11, 2014, HealthDay article, "Researchers Probe Molecular Cause for Glaucoma," by Mary Elizabeth Dallas.]



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