Biotechs face stronger regulation of stem cell treatment

Opthea eyes new treatments for macular degeneration

First published on STOCKHEAD – September 13th, 2017



ussie biotech Opthea is hoping to find a treatment for two eye diseases that have a wide impact on the population.

Opthea (ASX:OPT) is currently touring the international conference circuit with data from clinical trials for a treatment of Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Wet AMD) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME).

Wet AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people aged over 55. Type I and Type II diabetics are at risk of DME.

The current treatment for Wet AMD involves injections into the eye every four to six weeks.

The 30 to 40 per cent of patients who respond well to the treatment only achieve “stabilisation” of their vision and nearly a quarter of these will experience further vision loss after 12 months of treatment.

That’s because the treatments used are targeting the signal that makes the blood vessels in the retina grow and leak into the macula, acting as a mop to clean up the excess fluid that accumulates and turns your field of view into a soupy blind spot.

To put it simply, these treatments only target the symptoms of vision loss – and can only be addressed within a specific symptom window.

Opthea’s therapy works in conjunction with the mopping mechanism to target the pathways that cause the blood vessel growth, leakage and subsequent vision loss…