Proteins have become a key component of the therapeutic arsenal to treat ophthalmic diseases. Their delivery into the eye continues however to pose challenges. Direct intravitreous injections are particulary painful, require massive injections, need to be renewed frequently, on a monthly or every 8 weeks, potentially causing serious side effects, and impending patient compliance.
In order to achieve sustained release of therapeutic proteins in the eye, gene therapy appears to offer clear advantages. The eye is easy to access, is relatively isolated from the rest of the organism and constitutes an immune-priviliged site. Consequently, several viral gene therapy approaches are being developped by different groups to express therapeutic proteins fot the treatment of ophthalmic diseases. Whilst efficient, viral vectors however pose a number of challenges. They allow only sub-retinal Injection, are expensive to manufacture, they present a problematic control over dosage and of persistence of viral particles in the brain.
Eyevensys aims at overcoming such shortcomings by harnessing a technology based on Electro-Transfection (ET) of plasmids to the ciliary muscle.
The Key Distinctive Competitive Advantages of the Eyevensys Approach are:
- Avoidance of viral vectors
- Safety: no visual structure, like photo-receptors, are affected by the transfection of the plasmid. The Transfection is extremely well controlled and localised at the exact location of the injection and application of safe electrical pulses.
- Speed: The whole procedure is minimally invasive and very fast (< 1 mn)
- Potency: The ET of a plasmid inciliary muscle cells leads to an expression level of protein which is consistent with therapeutic activity
- Sustainability: Evidence have shown that protein production is maintained over several months
Plasmid ET to the ciliary muscle with a suitable medical device represents a promising local and sustained protein delivery system for treating posterior segment diseases, avoiding repeated systemic or intraocular injections with undesirable side effects. Electroporation of the ciliary muscle is the first developed method to deliver calibrated and sustained therapeutic proteins preferentially in the vitreous for several months.