RXi and EyeGate eye deal on non-invasive ocular RNAi delivery

By Alexandria Pešić

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rna interference

RXi Pharmaceuticals and EyeGate Pharma will unite to develop non-invasive, needle-free ocular delivery of RNAi therapeutics using the EyeGate II system for the treatment of retinal disorders.

Under the agreement RXi will provide small interfering RNA (siRNA) and the analytics, while EyeGate will formulate the siRNA into a suitable drug product for iontophoretic delivery as well as conducting all in vitro​ and in vivo​ work.

Using EyeGate’s iontophoresis technology, currently being studied in a Phase III trial with an anti-inflammatory product, RXi’s sd-rxRNA compounds will initially be delivered to the eye in preclinical models, whereby low voltage electrical current will deliver the drug across the ocular surface into the eye.

Stephen From, president and CEO of EyeGate Pharma explained to in-PharmaTechnologist that using the EyeGate II solution to deliver RNAi-based therapeutics to the retina holds several advantages over other methods currently accessible.

“These therapeutics will not penetrate the retina with a topical solution”, ​he said. “The only delivery modality available is very invasive, intravitreal injections, which suffer from collateral toxicities such as retinal detachment, haemorrhaging and endophthalmitis.”

Increased cellular uptake

“There is no other device or platform in the world that I am aware of that can do this,” ​he said, adding, “on top of that we have demonstrated increased cellular uptake, ideal for this therapeutic class.”

Eradicating the need for injections, the EyeGate II system works by placing an applicator housing an electrode, and attached to a handheld generator, on the surface of the eye. A small patch with a second electrode is placed on the forehead and also connected to the generator which can be programmed to control the time in minutes and the current in milli-Amperes, comprising the iontophoretic dose (mA-min).

From claims that “the higher the dose, the deeper the therapeutics will penetrate into the eye,” ​and said that by “combining the siRNA platform with [EyeGate’s] delivery system makes a lot of sense as not only have we demonstrated that we can deliver these biologics to the retina, but that we can also increase cellular uptake.”

This is a sentiment echoed by Noah Beerman, president and CEO of RXi who commented that the combined use of RNAi technology with the EyeGate II system “provides us with the potential opportunity to develop novel treatments for many ocular diseases and to improve treatment options.​”

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