Interesting development in the search for a non-surgical treatment for Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy:
January 3, 2017: San Diego, California. Trefoil Therapeutics, a privately funded company focused on improving human health and creating new therapies using drugs developed with protein engineering, announced today it will collaborate with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to complete the Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling activities for their lead compound, TTHX1114, toward a treatment for Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). FECD, can lead to severe vision loss and for which there currently is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved pharmaceutical therapy. Trefoil is developing TTHX1114 as potentially the first medical therapy for treatment of FECD, which is the most common driver of corneal transplantation.
“Fuchs dystrophy and other corneal endothelial diseases are potentially debilitating conditions, with limited non-surgical treatment options available to patients today. For many patients, the long-term prognosis may require some form of corneal transplant surgery. Having a therapeutic option such as the Trefoil compound may significantly expand our treatment options for these serious conditions," said Dr. Richard Abbott, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and holder of the Thomas W. Boyden Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology at University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Abbott added, "This collaboration with NCATS provides a high-quality interaction with a group of scientists experienced at bringing forward drugs that provide much-needed therapies for rare diseases to clinical testing in patients.”
TTHX1114 is an engineered FGF-1 (eFGF-1) developed by Trefoil co-founder Dr. Michael Blaber, Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine. The eFGF-1 platform represents an innovative approach to improving the properties of FGFs as drugs, yielding novel FGF-1s, which have demonstrated superior pharmacodynamic and pharmaceutical properties compared to the naturally occurring FGF-1s in animal models of tissue healing.
Additionally, two days later on January 6, 2017, Trefoil Therapeutics announced the closing of an oversubscribed $5.2 million Series 1 financing lead by Hatteras Venture Partners. In addition to Hatteras Venture Partners, the syndicate included four other firms with significant experience investing in the ophthalmic sector: AJU IB Investment, Correlation Ventures, ExSight Capital and InFocus Capital.
We have been in contact with the CEO of Trefoil Therapeutics for about 18 months and will continue to report on this story as it develops. In 2016 we posted an article contributed by Trefoil Therapeutics that provides an overview of their intentions and the properties of the product they are developing.