PolyCol’s ability to rapidly repair the damaged collagen present in dry eye disease, coupled with the concurrent recovery of the corneal epithelium, corneal nerves and reduction of inflammation, make this the company’s initial focus through the drug candidate ST-100 (vezocolmitide). Future development opportunities for this drop formulation include a wide variety of ocular surface indications, including Allergic Conjunctivitis, Corneal Trauma, and Corneal Ulcers. The development of ST-100 is supported by compelling animal testing results, with complete healing of damaged corneal tissues in 24 hours or less, and full recovery of damaged corneal and trigeminal nerve structures. Other variants of the PolyCol platform have demonstrated promise in three major diseases with significant unmet need: Glaucoma, Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD) and Myopia. Stuart has completed a series of research programs that demonstrate the benefits of repair and restoration of helical collagen in the affected tissues commonly associated with these disease indications. These results suggest a completely novel approach to treating chronic ophthalmic indications.
For dry eye disease, Stuart Therapeutics is taking advantage of PolyCol’s rapid ability to reduce the collagen remodeling burden in the cornea. In chronic dry eye disease, inflammation and tissue damage overwhelm the body’s ability to replace damaged helical collagen, which is also known as remodeling. The ST-100 drug candidate has shown in a clinical trial setting that it appears to both relieve symptoms of the disease, but also restore nerve function, resulting in improvements in the lacrimal functional unit, or tear process. Patient relief appears to begin as soon as the second day of use, with a vastly superior speed of action compared to competing therapeutics.
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For glaucoma, a PolyCol variant acts to heal biophysical damage to collagen in the lamina cribrosa and retrolaminar region, which are part of the supporting tissues for optic nerve axons as they exit the eye. Normal collagen cell signaling function is restored. This repair acts to protect the nerve axons, preventing loss of visual function.
For Dry AMD, a PolyCol variant acts to heal damage to Bruch’s membrane in the retina, providing a healthy substrate for recovery of the retinal pigment epithelial monolayer, and restoring normal cell signaling function in Bruch’s membrane.
For Diabetic Macular Edema, a PolyCol variant acts to repair the basement membrane of the vasculature, reducing or eliminating the vessel leakage that is common in this indication.
For Myopia, a PolyCol variant acts to restore posterior scleral integrity, which is lost in myopia patients due to aberrant scleral remodeling, causing a loss of tissue integrity, and resultant change in the shape of the eye, or axial length. PolyCol restoration of scleral integrity should act to halt axial length changes.
Stuart Therapeutics is a clinical stage company, with several drugs in development. Click here to learn more about the company’s trials, study sites, and opportunities for participation.