• By Kanaga Rajan and Keng Jin Lee
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Aerie Pharmaceuticals announced positive interim data from a recent European phase 3b trial involving netarsudil. When combined with latanoprost, the company’s Rho kinase inhibitor appears to be noninferior to bimatoprost/timolol (Ganfort) in lowering IOP across 9 timepoints over a 90-day period. Mean IOP dropped by 9.5 mm Hg and ocular adverse events were similar to what has been observed in previous trials. Aerie expects 6-month topline results to be available in early 2021. Aerie Pharmaceuticals

    The FDA granted orphan drug designation to a Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) treatment. According to Neurophth Therapeutics, the gene therapy NR082 leads to improved retinal ganglion function and visual acuity by restoring normal mitochondrial function in patients with LHON. Chief executive officer Alvin Luk, PhD, hopes the drug will help fulfill the unmet medical needs of this patient population. “The recognition of NR082 will reduce the R&D investment to a certain extent and accelerate the progress of clinical trials and marketing registration,” he said. Neurophth Therapeutics

    Visus Therapeutics is hitting the ground running. Along with announcing their launch, the Seattle-based team revealed a development program for a novel eye drop for presbyopia. Their lead product candidate is a proprietary formulation of 2 well-established, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals used for glaucoma: carbachol and brimonidine tartrate. Five clinical trials have already studied the safety and efficacy of the drug, with the most recent reporting improvements in near visual acuity that last 12 hours or more. Phase 2 trials are slated to begin early 2021. Visus Therapeutics

    Could a common antidepressant treat amblyopia? According to a new study in Current Biology, a single dose of subanesthetic ketamine can promote recovery of amblyopia-related visual acuity defects by enhancing cortical plasticity in the visual cortex of adult mice. Additional studies are needed to fully parse the therapeutic implications of these findings. UCI School of Medicine, Current Biology

    Scientists have discovered a biomarker of neurodegenerative diseases in the vitreous fluid of patients undergoing eye surgery. The neurofilament light chain—a protein previously detected in cerebrospinal fluid and blood—does not appear to correlate with eye disease but is positively associated with other neurodegenerative biomarkers such as amyloid-B and tau proteins. “We hope that these results will add another way to use information about what’s happening in different parts of the body to detect the presence of disease before neurodegeneration takes hold, causing irreversible damage,” explained study author Manju Subramanian, MD. “The earlier we can diagnose and treat these diseases, the better off our patients will be.” Boston Medical Center, Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy