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Iconic Therapeutics Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Iconic Therapeutics is targeting tissue factor, a protein that decorates pathological vessels but is not found on normal tissue. The start-up has created a bi-functional protein capable of homing in on TF-laden cells and triggering their destruction. Studies in animal models of AMD show that injection of the therapy results in the regression of up to 50% of unwanted blood vessels.

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Acucela Inc.

Acucela is developing oral compounds that can possibly slow or stop vision loss caused by dry age-related macular degeneration. Its lead candidate is a small-molecule inhibitor of an enzyme called RPE65, known to be involved in the build-up of A2E, a toxic vitamin A by-product that is implicated in AMD.

Sirion Therapeutics Inc.

Fenretinide, Sirion Therapeutics' lead candidate, targets the pathway by which Vitamin A gets into the eye and becomes part of A2E, the protein complex that scientists consider a bad actor in AMD. Intermediate analysis of fenretinide Phase II data showed that patients taking the compound had slower growth of lesions than those given placebo, and that trend increased over time.

MacuCLEAR Inc.

MacuCLEAR's lead molecule for AMD, based on a marketed anti-hypertensive, stimulates choroidal blood flow so that cellular wastes in the eye can be cleared and never cause the breakdown of critical tissues that diminish vision. The company has received IND clearance to shepherd its treatment down the 505(b)(2) approval pathway with fast track status.

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