Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have developed a synthetic peptide that may work better than aflibercept for wet AMD and reduce the treatment burden.
AXT107, a peptide derived from collagen IV, targets VEGF and three other pathways that promote blood vessel growth. In addition, the peptide collects as a gel within the eye, allowing it inhibit disease for longer periods of time.
"We anticipate injection of AXT107 in humans may have a substantially longer effect than current treatment," said lead researcher Peter Campochiaro, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University. "Instead of eye injections every 4 to 6 weeks, we hope it would be several months between injections."
A study published Jan. 18 in Science Translational Medicine showed that ATX107 suppressed subretinal neovascularization in 2 different mouse models of wet AMD, and that a combination of AXT107 and aflibercept suppressed neovascularization better than either agent alone.
In rabbit eyes, ATX107 cut leakage by 86% at 1 month and by 70% at 2 months, while aflibercept reduced leakage by 69% at 1 month but induced no further reduction of leakage at 2 months.
The peptide appeared safe and effective in rabbits, though the test lasted only 2 months, Campochiaro said.
"AXT107 may provide a way to get as good or better effects as patients are getting with current treatment, but with fewer visits and injections," Campochiaro said.
Researchers hope to start the first human trials later this year with a phase 1 trial focusing primarily on safety.