SHANGHAI and HONG KONG, July 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Arctic Vision, a China-based clinical-stage ophthalmology company focuses on developing innovative therapies for pan-ocular diseases, announcing today a new research collaboration with Prof. Christopher Leung, Head and Clinical Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) for the discovery and development of novel neuroprotective therapies for glaucoma.
Glaucoma, an optic neuropathy characterized by progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.1 In 2020, there were about 76 million patients estimated with glaucoma globally, with up to 22 million in China alone. 1,2 Currently, the most common therapeutic approaches aim to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) to slow optic nerve degeneration. However, a significant portion of glaucoma patients suffer from progressive visual impairment despite adequate control of IOP. For that reason, there is an urgent need to prevent glaucoma-related blindness via new mechanisms.
Neuroprotection, in the form of non-IOP-related interventions to prevent or delay glaucomatous neurodegeneration, has been underscored to be an unmet need in the management of glaucoma ever since the 2010 World Glaucoma Association Consensus Meeting.3 However, no neuroprotective therapy has been approved for the treatment of glaucoma to date. This ground-breaking collaboration between Arctic Vision and HKU to discover new therapies with novel mechanisms of action marks a paradigm shift of the global research approaches to treatment of glaucoma.
This project has three main objectives:
– Modulate mitochondrial activity as a neuroprotective strategy for glaucoma;
– Develop a microRNA-based gene therapy for protection of optic nerve in glaucoma patients;
– Reprogram cellular pathways for neuroprotection and neuro-regeneration in RGCs.
Arctic Vision will sponsor this four-year collaboration, which will include the development of in vivo experimental glaucoma models and a Phase 1 clinical trial.
Dr. Eddy (Hoi Ti) Wu, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Board Director of Arctic Vision, commented, «Arctic Vision’s objective is to discover, develop and deliver the most novel pan-ocular therapies globally. Over the past couple of years, we have built a strong clinical portfolio of in-licensed assets with proprietary technology platforms while raising over USD 140 million in capital. With this new collaboration with HKU and Professor Leung, we are now investing in the exploration and discovery of novel R&D approaches to serious global needs. Over the next four years, we will work closely with Professor Leung to advance new approaches to neuroprotection for patients with glaucoma who suffer from progressive loss in vision despite adequate control of IOP. We are particularly excited to sponsor cutting-edge research in the novel field of microRNA-based gene therapies, which have the potential to transform the therapeutic landscape globally. Overall, this will enhance our R&D capabilities as well as our portfolio to address the unmet medical needs of patients in China and globally.»
Dianna Qian, Partner of Pivotal bioVentures China and Chairman of Arctic Vision, commented, «As a life science specialty fund with most of the funding from Hong Kong, Pivotal bioVentures China has been actively promoting the collaboration between HK based top tier research institutions and our incubated companies. This sponsorship not only has strategic meaning to Arctic Vision, but also a milestone to the life science industry’s development.
Prof. Christopher Leung, Head and Clinical Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), added, «We are thrilled to receive a generous support from Arctic Vision to further our research in the treatment of glaucoma. We have been dedicated to engineer diagnostic technologies for the early detection and monitoring of glaucoma, innovate procedures to lower IOP, and develop new therapies to protect and regenerate RGCs in glaucoma and other optic neuropathies. This sponsored collaboration allows us to advance the science of glaucoma treatment further by exploring the potential of new approaches like microRNA-based gene therapy. At the same time, this collaboration will also support the training of vison scientists and biomedical engineers in Hong Kong. We look forward to delivering new breakthroughs in this space to ultimately benefit patients across the world.»
Flaxman SR, Bourne RRA, Resnikoff S, Ackland P, Braithwaite T, Cicinelli MV, Das A, Jonas JB, Keeffe J, Kempen JH, Leasher J, Limburg H, Naidoo K, Pesudovs K, Silvester A, Stevens GA, Tahhan N, Wong TY, Taylor HR; Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study. Global causes of blindness and distance vision impairment 1990-2020: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2017;5:e1221-e1234.
Quigley HA, Broman AT. The number of people with glaucoma worldwide in 2010 and 2020. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006;90:262-7.
About Arctic Vision
Arctic Vision is a China-based clinical stage specialty ophthalmology company with a leading portfolio of breakthrough technologies. The company’s vision is to address unmet medical needs in ophthalmology through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative therapies in China, Asia and globally. Arctic Vision is led by an elite team of ophthalmic industry veterans with substantial and compelling experience in R&D and commercialization of eye care products in both China and globally. For more information, please visit https://arcticvision.com.
About the University of Hong Kong & Professor Christopher Leung
Founded in 1911, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is the first and oldest institution of higher learning in Hong Kong. For over a century, the University has dedicated itself to creating knowledge, providing education, and serving society. Today, HKU has an established worldwide reputation for being a research-led comprehensive University with ten Faculties and a strong commitment to intellectual freedom, liberty, and diversity.
Prof. Christopher Leung, Head and Clinical Professor at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), is a regional and global expert in glaucoma as well as the diagnostic imaging of the optic nerve. He is the recipient of multiple local and international awards and honors in research and professional services including the World Glaucoma Congress Science Award (2009), Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Clinician-Scientist Research Award (2010), World Glaucoma Congress Young Clinician Scientist Award (2011), Asia Pacific Glaucoma Society Young Investigator Award (2012), American Academy of Ophthalmology Secretariat Award (2012), Stuart Brown Lecturer (2013), American Academy of Ophthalmology Senior Achievement Award (2015), World Information Technology and Services Alliance Global Information and Communications Excellence Award (2019), and Hong Kong Information and Communications Technology Awards – Smart Living Grand Award (2019), among others. At HKU Ophthalmology, he directs the Glaucoma and Optic Nerve Diagnostics Lab, Optic Nerve Protection and Regeneration Lab, and Virtual Reality Lab.
For more information, please visit https://ophthalmology.hku.hk
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SOURCE Arctic Vision