Geographic Atrophy

Overview of AMD & GA

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive degenerative eye disease that affects the macula and the fovea, the central part of the retina, responsible for sharp vision. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 50, having a major impact on the quality of life and emotional well-being of elderly patients.
AMD is classified into three stages: early AMD, intermediate AMD and advanced or late AMD.
While the early and intermediate stages of AMD cause mild symptoms, symptoms get progressively worse in the advanced stages of the disease.
Advanced AMD is sub-categorized in two sub-forms:
  • Wet AMD is characterized by an abnormal blood vessel growth beneath the retina and leak fluid or blood, leading to rapid and severe central vision loss. Wet AMD can cause significant vision distortion and requires prompt treatment to prevent further vision loss.

  • Dry AMD or Geographic Atrophy (GA) is the more common form, accounting for about 85-90% of AMD cases. GA is characterized by atrophic lesions appearing first in the outer retina (extra-foveal GA) and slowly progressing to the fovea (foveal GA), leading to irreversible loss of vision over time. GA is estimated to affect 5-8 million people worldwide and is expected to increase at a rate of 7% annually. The market potential for GA is estimated at between USD 3-6 billion by 2028.
Therapeutic options:
  • Wet AMD can be treated with intravitreal injections of anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies (such as Eylea®, Vabysmo®, or Lucentis®) to reduce the formation, growth, and leakage of the abnormal blood vessels.

  • For dryAMD/GA, it is only in 2023, that the first two drugs were approved by the FDA, SYFOVRE® from Apellis and IZERVAY® from Astellas. These 2 drugs targeting the complement pathway have shown in clinical trials, a reduction rate of the GA lesion growth by around 35% with monthly IVT injections, but no significant improvement in vision, which leaves a tremendous unmet need for an effective treatment option for these GA patients.
Our strategy
GA is recognized as a complex multifactorial disease and targeting a single pathway like complement e.g., is probably not sufficient to dramatically reduce the GA growth and improve vision. Oxurion’s strategy is therefore to look beyond the complement pathway, identify new targets involved in the pathogenesis of the disease and develop multi-target drugs to offer better treatment option to GA patients.
To identify new cellular pathways that can potently protect the retina from further degeneration, Oxurion has set up an innovative target discovery platform for GA, which consist in a genome-wide screening using CRISPR gene modulation technology of an in vitro cell-based assay, highly representative of the GA stage of the disease (“patient in a dish”).
Oxurion is currently working on the new targets identified through this target discovery platform and will start generating its multi-specific lead candidate at the end of Q2 2024.