Jason Slakter, MD: Unmet Needs in Wet AMD

NOVEMBER 13, 2017
Jenna Payesko


Jason Slakter, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Ohr Pharmaceutical:

There are some very key unmet needs in retinal space, in particular in the wet macular degeneration space. The most important thing that we have right now, is we do have a therapy. We have anti-VEGF with some very effective drugs that provide for improvements in visual function for people who've lost vision due to wet AMD. The unmet needs however, is we recognize that we need to have additional vision recovery. Not all patients gain their vision back, in fact most patients don't, some patients don't even gain any vision even with maximum therapy. So clearly a very important need right now is to improve on the vision outcomes that we can get with anti-VEGF therapy. But in addition to that, our patients fortunately live long lives from the time they're diagnosed, and we need to maintain those beneficial gains and vision even beyond just a year or 2 but for their entire life. And that's where our product that's in development comes in. We have a molecule called squalamine lactate which is delivered topically, so it's not an injection. This is a topical eye drop, a patient administered therapy that we are studying as an add-on to anti-VEGF therapy to improve visual function for people with wet AMD.

I think that it's become very clear that you know injections are very effective for what they do. I think everyone also understands that we are trying to find ways to reduce the treatment burden, to reduce the burden on the patient, on the physician, on the caregiver, and providing a way that the patient can be involved in that care, to have an effective therapy that can add on to what we have now, to improve vision function, maintain it in a setting of perhaps fewer injections with a topical product, is a huge step forward. 

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