InSite Vision Inc. has been awarded a $500,000 research grantfrom the National Eye Institute to fund clinical studies andmanufacturing scale-up for an ocular anti-infective/anti-inflammatory product.

The small business innovation research grant, announcedWednesday, covers the company's drug for treatment ofbacterial corneal infections and prophylaxis following cataractsurgery. InSite plans to file an investigational new drugapplication with the FDA in the latter half of this year to beginPhase I/II trials.

The drug combines the anti-infective tobramycin andprednisolone, an anti-inflammatory, with InSite's proprietaryDuraSite drug delivery vehicle. DuraSite is a polymer thatreleases drugs in a sustained fashion as the polymer erodes.The polymer transforms from a liquid to a gel after it is placedin the eye.

The Alameda, Calif., company, which is raising a mezzanineround of venture funds, has four off-patent drugs in clinicaltrials: two for glaucoma, one anti-inflammatory and a productfor dry eye. A lazaroid anti-oxidant compound to treat light-induced eye damage, in-licensed from Upjohn, will begin PhaseI trials this year. -- KB

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