Ildong said Thursday that it has signed a cooperative agreement with Olix Pharmaceutical to co-develop an RNA interference-based macular degeneration treatment
RNA interference refers to a phenomenon in which the production of a specific protein is inhibited by selectively cleaving messenger RNA (mRNA) involved in intracellular protein synthesis. According to Olix, the procedure allows doctors to control body phenomenon and even treat diseases.
Under the accord, the companies will utilize Olix's "self-delivering asymmetric small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology," to develop a treatment for senile macular degeneration that inhibits abnormal angiogenic factors in the eye.
The two companies are also focusing on developing the drug into a therapy that can also treat patients who do not respond to or have tolerance against the conventional treatment inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
“Traditional therapies only focused on inhibiting VEGF,” an Ildong company official said. “However, such treatments have its limits if the patient has tolerance against the drug substance or have angiogenic factors other than VEGF.”
The cooperative agreement, however, allows the two companies to develop a drug that inhibits various factors inducing abnormal angiogenesis at the same time, he added.
The two firms plan to start research and development phase of the drug to enter clinical trials in 2021.
With the contract, Ildong intends to strengthen its new drug pipeline in the field of ophthalmic diseases, along with Lucentis’ “IDB0062,” a conventional bio-drug that inhibits vascular endothelial cell growth factor, the company official said.