Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCUL) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies for diseases and conditions of the eye using its proprietary hydrogel platform technology. Ocular Therapeutix’s lead product candidates are in Phase 3 clinical development for post-surgical ocular inflammation and pain and allergic conjunctivitis, and Phase 2 clinical development for glaucoma and inflammatory dry eye. The company is also evaluating sustained-release injectable anti-VEGF drug depots for back-of-the-eye diseases. Ocular Therapeutix’s first product, ReSure® Sealant, is FDA-approved to seal corneal incisions following cataract surgery.
Ocular Therapeutix’s proprietary hydrogel technology uses polyethylene glycol (PEG) to create innovative ophthalmic sustained drug delivery systems and medical devices. Ocular Therapeutix designs its product candidates to encapsulate ophthalmic pharmaceuticals within its hydrogel to deliver sustained and therapeutic levels of drugs to targeted ocular tissues. Our technology allows us to tailor each release profile to provide the desired duration of therapy (from days to months) and are compatible with a wide range of ophthalmic medications including prostaglandin analogs, corticosteroids, anti-infectives, and anti-allergy medications, among others.
The hydrogel provides containment, localization and protection from inflammatory response, providing what we believe is an ideal material for sustained delivery of drugs to the eye. These depots can be inserted non-invasively through the punctum for ocular surface or anterior segment therapies, or injected intravitreally for posterior segment therapies. Sustained drug depots are also designed to provide more consistent dosing therapy than topical eye drops by avoiding the large variances in drug concentration found with topical drops.
Our platform technology addresses many of the limitations of eye drop therapies, the current standard of care for front-of-the-eye diseases and conditions. Compliance with eye drop therapy is low due to the need for frequent administration and the difficulty in administering eye drops. Compliance levels of glaucoma patients are as low as 50% within six months of initiation of therapy. There are significant variations, or peaks and valleys, in drug concentration with eye drop therapy, potentially leading to side effects. Eye drops contain preservatives which disrupt the ocular surface, and may also lead to side effects such as burning, stinging and redness. Our products do not contain any preservatives thus preserving the ocular surface and avoiding the related side effects. Our sustained release drug delivery technology is designed to deliver drugs over an extended period of time and avoids the constantly varying drug levels associated with eye drops. For acute diseases and conditions, we offer a single-administration therapy and for chronic diseases we offer a significantly less frequent therapy. As a result, compliance is largely taken out of the hands of the patient.
For back-of-the-eye diseases such as wet AMD, we offer the potential to greatly reduce the frequency of intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF drugs. Current therapy is an injection once every one to two months and we have the potential to extend this out to four to six months based on preclinical feasibility work we have performed.