Oral Diabetic Eye Disease Drug in Early Trials; Could One Day Replace Eye Injections

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By : dLife Editors

Verseon, a drug discovery company, presented promising preclinical study data for a new, oral diabetic eye drug that could lead to the first real alternative to eye injections, the current standard of care for millions of diabetics at risk of losing their eyesight.

Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a leading cause of adult blindness, affecting about one in three long-term diabetes patients.

With the prevalence of diabetes on the rise around the globe, preventing complications like DME is becoming increasingly urgent.

However, the current standards of care for DME are regular injections into the eye—treatments that are associated with side effects including inflammation and infection and that work poorly or not at all in about half of the patients.

Recent studies have also shown that 25% of patients fail to follow up with their eye injections, leaving them at risk of eventual vision loss.

Verseon’s drug candidate, which is aimed for oral administration, has the potential to fill a large unmet need for both treatment and prevention of DME.

The candidate is the first of Verseon’s new class of small-molecule plasma kallikrein inhibitors for oral dosing that has been nominated for advancement into clinical trials.

Dr. Melissa Calton, Verseon’s ophthalmology program manager presented comprehensive preclinical data for this lead development candidate at the ARVO 2019 annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In preclinical models, the compound showed good efficacy against two important drivers of the disease—the kallikrein and VEGF pathways—following administration of a single oral dose.

“What’s most exciting about our DME candidates isn’t just that they may replace eye injections, but that they could give doctors an opportunity to prevent diabetes patients from developing DME in the first place,” says Calton.

“Its excellent pharmacokinetic profile sets our development candidate apart from other candidates, making it suitable for administration as a pill.”

Calton says the company is very encouraged by preclinical results and is working to bring this candidate into clinical trials.


  1. Verseon Presents Oral Drug Candidate for Diabetic Eye Disease That Could Replace Eye Injections. Business Wire. (2019, April 30). Retrieved: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190430005295/en