Eye Disease Project Boost
Eye Disease Project Boost with Commercial Ready Grant
Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd. (ASX: AOS) today announced that it has been offered an AusIndustry Commercial Ready grant that will inject $1,408,457 of non-dilutive funds into the company over three years to match company funding.
The funding will support the development of compounds for the treatment of exudative eye diseases such as conjunctivitis, corneal swelling and retinal diseases. Exudation associated with inflammation can be responsible for loss of vision.
Some of the anti-inflammatory compounds in the project are currently in clinical use for other medical conditions, enabling the path to market to be substantially reduced. This work will add to the company's strengthening intellectual property portfolio in ophthalmic diseases and should enhance the ability to attract a major industry partner to the project.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane congratulated AOS on being offered an Australian Government Commercial Ready grant and highlighted the project's potential return to Australia.
"This is a commendable project which, all going well, could result in significant benefits for people who have vision problems," Mr. Macfarlane said.
"Australia has a reputation for punching above its weight in medical research, and through our $1 billion Commercial Ready program, the Australian Government is pleased to support innovative companies, like AOS, in commercialising world-class R&D."
Mr. Tony Fitzgerald, Executive Chairman of AOS said, "This grant provides AOS with added resources to develop new treatments for very common inflammatory diseases of the eye. It is estimated that 85 million people around the world have diseases of the retina. This constitutes the fastest growing segment of the ophthalmic pharmaceuticals market, currently estimated at about US$7 billion."
Prof. Simon Carroll, Chief Scientific Officer of AOS commented, "The Federal Government initiative under Commercial Ready provides an excellent opportunity for companies to expand their world class intellectual property. Our project will create new formulations and delivery systems designed to offer the best treatment outcomes for patients and maximise the marketability of the therapeutic products."
The compounds to be developed under the Commercial Ready grant aim to treat the rapidly escalating number of eye diseases including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular oedema (DMO), a significant complication of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy
In the western world, AMD is the most common cause of blindness in people over 50 years of age and is the most common cause of vision loss in Australia. Over 500,000 Australians are afflicted with AMD, a figure that only increases as the population continues to age.
Diabetes now affects over 150 million or 5% of people worldwide and is increasing rapidly. A significant number of people with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy, DMO and blindness. The Australian Government has declared diabetes a national health priority with an estimated 1 million Australians currently suffering from the disease.
Currently there is no adequate treatment for these disabling diseases. Collaborators on the grant will include the University of Western Australia, the Lions Eye Institute and Monash University's Victorian College of Pharmacy.
About Commercial Ready Program
Commercial Ready is a Federal Government program administered by AusIndustry. It is a competitive merit-based grant program supporting innovation and its commercialisation. It aims to stimulate greater innovation and productivity growth in the private sector by providing around $200 million per year in competitive grants to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) between 2004-05 and 2010-11. A wide range of project activities can be supported, extending from initial research and development (R&D), through proof of concept, to early-stage commercialisation activities.
About Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd. (previously Regenera):
Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd (formerly Regenera Ltd) has a portfolio of drugs and technologies for the treatment of eye diseases with the objective of improving treatment options for people suffering serious, and often blinding, diseases.
The portfolio includes drugs for age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema and disorders of the vitreous, as well as advanced refractive technologies with the potential to improve the treatment of refractive and presbyopic disorders.
In 2005, the Company licensed an ocular use of the steroid triamcinolone acetonide to the leading international ophthalmology group, Alcon (NYSE:ACL).
AOS listed on the ASX on 16 June, 2004. On 30 December 2005, the Company merged with Advanced Ocular Systems, Inc, a US-based refractive devices company to become an innovative ocular pharmaceuticals and refractive devices company. The strengths of AOS include the early identification of valuable IP, technology, and products aligned with emerging market trends. It is expected that near-term value creation will be developed through partnering and early commercial exploitation of the technologies.