Telor Ophthalmic Pharmaceuticals Inc. has started Phase I/IItrials of its first drug, a compound to prevent acute increases inintraocular pressure in glaucoma patients following cataractsurgery.

The active ingredient in EY-105, ethacrynic acid, is a smallmolecule that has been used for 25 years as a systemic drug totreat fluid retention resulting from congestive heart failure,cirrhosis of the liver and kidney disease.

The privately held Woburn, Mass., company estimates thatabout 1.6 million cataract surgeries are performed annually inthe United States. According to Telor, studies suggest thatviscoelastic materials used during surgery to protectophthalmic tissue and to maintain the shape of the eye are amajor cause of transient but acute increases in intraocularpressure. These materials, which are difficult to removecompletely, are believed to temporarily clog the channels thatallow fluid to drain from the eye.

Telor is also developing EY-105 as a topical product for long-term use in controlling intraocular pressure in patients withglaucoma. The product is in preclinical development. About 3million Americans are affected by condition, in which age-related changes in the eye's drainage channels make it difficultfor fluid to leave the eye.

Data published in the January issue of Archives ofOphthalmology indicate that EY-105 increases the facility ofoutflow in human donor eyes by 28 percent. The studysuggested that EY-105 works by changing the shape of cellsand loosening the junctions between cells lining the fluidoutflow channels.

Telor has exclusively licensed the drug for use in loweringintraocular pressure from the Massachusetts Eye and EarInfirmary. -- KB

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