MAR 17, 2016
Acucela Inc. and YouHealth Eyetech Inc. have signed an agreement to develop a pharmacologic treatment for cataracts.
Scientists from the University of California at San Diego developed the lanosterol therapy and published their findings in the July 2015 issue of Nature, showing that lanosterol production is halted in children with congenital cataract, and that lanosterol injections reduced cataract severity in dogs.
The Japanese-based Acucela plans to evaluate lanosterol as a treatment for mild cataracts with an option to fully develop and commercialize the compound. They also plan to investigate lanosterol for other ophthalmic conditions such as presbyopia, according to the press release.
“The potential for the lanosterol technology to provide an entirely new treatment paradigm for early stage cataracts raises hope for millions who now can only wait for their cataracts to worsen to the point where surgery is warranted. We welcome the opportunity to work with YouHealth to make this therapy a reality,” stated Ryo Kubota, chairman of Acucela.
In November, a team of researchers at the University of California at San Francisco identified a steroid that has the potential to reverse cataracts by blocking α-crystallin aggregation.
In a paper published in the Nov 6, 2015 issue of Science, they showed that a single drop of their compound administered 3 times a week for 2 weeks significantly improved lens opacity by an average of one grade (LOCS III) in mouse models that had age-related or hereditary cataract.