• By Kanaga Rajan and Neasa McGarrigle
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Houston, we have … artificial retina production in space? Lambda Vision’s artificial retina project is set to take off to (really) far-off lands, thanks to a $5 million NASA grant. Part of the funds will be spent on board the International Space Station, where researchers plan to evaluate whether manufacturing in microgravity could reduce the amount of necessary materials, lower costs and accelerate production time. The development of the first protein-based artificial retina will use rhodopsin-like proteins to mimic photoreceptors and activate degenerative retinas, with the goal of restoring vision for patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa. Businesswire

    The FDA granted orphan drug status to a synthetic cannabinoid for the prevention of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). Tetra Bio-Pharma says that their drug has shown promise in experimental models, preventing PVR through activation of the type 2 cannabinoid receptor. “If Tetra's clinical trial can successfully demonstrate prevention of PVR in humans, PPP003 would become the first prescription eye medication approved for this condition," said Tetra’s chief scientific officer Melanie Kelly, PhD. Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc 

    Scientists from Kyoto have created a device that emulates human blinking using a 3D printer. The device moves fluids over corneal cells similarly to how tears move over a blinking eye. They found that the blinking motion changed the shape of corneal cells and increased the production of filaments that keep the cells flexible and elastic. The researchers hope their device will improve ophthalmic drug development and testing and advance understanding of how blinking affects the corneal surface. iCeMS Kyoto University

    The FDA has granted fast-track designation to Iveric bio’s complement C5 inhibitor, avacincaptad pegol (Zimura). The drug is in development for the treatment of geographic atrophy secondary to dry AMD. In the next stage of trials, the company will seek to confirm the positive efficacy and safety results reported in 2019. Iveric bio

    Aldeyra Therapeutics is screening its portfolio for drugs with potential to treat COVID-19. Included in the list is reproxalap, an anti-inflammatory drug currently being evaluated in phase 3 clinical trials for dry eye disease and allergic conjunctivitis. Reproxalap and one other potential candidate are novel reactive aldehyde species inhibitors, which are structurally related to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. Aldeyra Therapeutics