Stuart Therapeutics is developing a synthesized polypeptide therapeutic, (PolyCol), that targets and heals specific areas of collagen damage that are implicated in chronic diseases of the eye. In several chronic ophthalmic indications, disease processes release enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that degrade and remodel collagen proteins. One specific area of degradation is in helical collagen structures (found in all collagen types). These helical structures are the home for important cell signaling proteins in healthy tissue. When degraded by MMPs, these helical structures cease hosting of signaling proteins, leading to inflammation and further damage. Normally, collagen is replaced quite slowly compared to cellular tissues. Healthy collagen structures are required for full and healthy recovery of the affected tissues. As people age, the body’s ability to produce replacement collagen is reduced, thus leading to chronic disease. PolyCol is structured as a fractional single strand of amino acids that are mimics of sequences found in normal helical collagen. It is specifically designed to bind or intercalate into the key damage areas, restoring cell signaling and the structural role that collagen plays in healthy tissues. It works quickly, and results in the rapid restoration of tissue health and reduction in inflammation. PolyCol is being developed for several common disease indications in ophthalmology: Dry Eye Disease, Glaucoma, Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Myopia.
Our lead product candidate, ST-100, is being developed for the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease (DED). Stuart’s ST-100 is a targeted tissue reparative technology, restoring the helical collagen structures to their primary structural and cell signaling ligand binding site role. This results in an extremely robust recovery of corneal nerve function, and the ocular surface, including goblet cells and corneal epithelium.
Stuart Therapeutics will begin its Phase 3 clinical trial for its first drug candidate, ST-100 (vezocolmitide) for Dry Eye Disease in December of 2023. The company has also completed extensive in vitro and in vivo research to profile the multiple amino acid sequence variants of the PolyCol platform, including their impact on accelerating tissue healing and reduction of inflammation in other important ophthalmic indications.