Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is a common eye disease but it is also a major cause of blindness. Asians have the highest risk for myopia with a prevalence of 85%. Severe myopia (worse than -6 diopter) will abnormally elongate the eyeball axial length, which causes pathological change of eyeball leading to increases of severe complications diseases including macular damage, retinal detachment, glaucoma, premature cataract or even blindness.
So far, two ways have been used to “correct” myopia: eyedrop treatment and glasses (including lasik surgery). Unfortunately, there is ONE effective eyedrop, Atropine, to treat myopia. Atropine can prevent/reduce eyeball elongation leading to treat myopia and to prevent myopia-induced eye diseases. However, Atropine can dilate pupils which not only causes photo-phobia, but also leads to the photo-damage to the eyes. Due to the side effects, patients and even eye doctors often reject Atropine. Although myopia can be simply corrected by glasses or lasik surgery, these methods do not prevent myopia progression or myopia-induced complications. Accordingly, there is unmet medical need for myopia, which is particularly important for the Asian populations.
We have identified that overexpression of microRNA-328 is a risk factor for myopia. We designed several microRNA-328 inhibitors and filed patents for myopia treatment. Using the inhibitor via eye drop, we successfully treated myopic mice and rabbits and recovered their eyeball to the normal ranges. No side effect or toxicity was found based on the toxicity studies. We expect to file IND in 2019 and move our product to human clinical trials.
Cooperation projects and needs
1. We expect to out-licensing our Products/Technology
2. We are looking for investors