Partnership Aims to Take Advantage of Preclinical Ophthalmology Developments

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Partnership Aims to Take Aid Preclinical Ophthalmology Developments
Calvert Labs and EyeCRO have teamed up, citing growing demand for integrated early-phase services for ocular drugs.

Rafal Farjo, PhD, COO of EyeCRO, told Outsourcing-pharma.com that the “demand for ophthalmology studies is increasing.  Many research scientists are uncovering new mechanisms and targets for ophthalmic disease, it is also becoming apparent that there is pathology in common with many other clinical indications.  

“Thus, in addition to a number of start-ups with assets based on excellent bench research, large pharmaceutical companies that are not typically in ophthalmology are beginning to explore ophthalmic indications for their molecules​,” he added. 

EyeCRO specializes in ophthalmic studies of preclinical efficacy, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and topical/eyedrop formulation development.  Efficacy models include laser induce choroidal neovascularization (Laser CNV), streptozotocin-induced diabetes, intraocular ischemia/reperfusion injury, and the SKS CEP-induced Dry AMD model. 

Dr Farjo said his team is “capable of performing CRO-quality preclinical ophthalmic efficacy, formulation, and Bioanalytical/PK studies.  As Calvert is considered to be the industry leader in providing GLP ophthalmic studies, we sought to develop an alliance which could enable our clients to complete all of their IND-enabling studies under the guidance of the best scientific team possible​.”  

Calvert has a history of success in ocular development.  Cornell University veterinary ophthalmologist Thomas Kern, DVM, helped develop intravitreal and subconjunctival techniques at Calvert that set the foundation for Macugen, which became the first FDA-approved anti-VEGF inhibitor for the treatment of wet AMD. 

This partnership “brings together substantial expertise so a client with minimal experience in ophthalmology can take a new test agent from bench to bedside in a directed, efficient, and streamlined process.  As EyeCRO continues to grow, it is likely that we will seek out other similar partnerships with leading organizations such as Calvert​.” 

This is the second preclinical partnership for Pennsylvania-based Calvert​ since March. The partnership with Particle Sciences primarily focuses on preclinical toxicology and pharmacokinetic studies. 

The Calvert Preferred Partner Network creates a formal, collaborative support network to better serve the specialized needs of our clients, many of which rely on multiple partners to achieve program goals and objectives​,” said Russ McLauchlan, Chairman and CEO of Calvert Holdings.

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