Endogena starts clinical trials for regenerative treatment for blindness

Zurich and San Francisco-based Endogena Therapeutics has treated the first patient in a phase 1/2a clinical study of its lead product, EA-2353, a photoreceptor regeneration treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, one of the leading causes of inherited blindness.

Endogena Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical-stage biotech company that discovers and develops first-in-class endogenous regenerative medicines to repair and regenerate tissues and organs. Its lead candidate, EA-2353 targets retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a group of inherited diseases causing slow and progressive retinal degeneration and loss of vision, for which there is currently no treatment for most patients. It is a leading cause of inherited blindness, with an estimated 1.5 million people worldwide presently affected.

EA-2353 takes a novel, small-molecule approach and selectively activates endogenous retinal stem and progenitor cells, which differentiate into photoreceptors and potentially preserve or restore visual function. This gene-independent treatment approach has significant advantages in RP, which has multiple genetic causes. EA-2353 has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2021.

After the kick-off of its phase 1/2a dose-escalation study, the company has transitioned into the clinical stage, which will examine the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of EA-2353 administered by intravitreal injection. A total of 14 patients with RP due to any pathologic genetic mutation will be recruited across up to six sites in the USA.

Matthias Steger, PhD, MBA, CEO of Endogena, said: “It’s a tribute to the Endogena team’s dedication and firm belief in this new treatment paradigm that we’ve reached the significant milestone of commencing the first studies in patients with RP. For the first time, we can offer real hope to RP patients.”

Endogena’s artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery platform, combined with cutting-edge knowledge of molecular pathways that regulate retinal stem cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells, provides a potential new treatment paradigm to tackle degenerative conditions related to aging and genetic disorders. Beyond EA-2353, other products in Endogena’s pipeline include treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is approaching IND-enabling studies.

Registered in San Francisco, USA, Endogena is part of the Rejuveron Life Sciences group of companies, with operations based in Rejuveron’s state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in Zürich’s Bio-Technopark and at JLABS in Toronto, Canada

(Press release)