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Jun 10, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

ONL Therapeutics: Eyeing Fas

ONL's Fas antagonist inhibits universal death pathway in retinal pathologies

ONL Therapeutics LLC is developing a peptide antagonist of Fas-mediated apoptosis that could become the first pharmacotherapy to prevent vision loss associated with non-exudative retinal detachment. The company expects its products would be used as an adjunct to surgery or drugs that correct the detachment but do not preserve photoreceptors.

Age, injury and diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can cause the retina to detach from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) layer. Retinal detachment can lead to vision loss caused in part by interruption of nutrient and waste transport between the RPE and photoreceptor cells of the retina responsible for capturing and transducing light.

Even after surgical reattachment of the retina - or, in the case of AMD, drug therapy to regress the leaky blood vessels that caused the detachment - vision loss may persist because photoreceptor cells die when deprived of metabolic support.

"If we lose these photoreceptor cells, no matter how great the anatomy looks - the retina is attached again or the macular degeneration has gone...

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