Our lead product candidate, OKG-0301, is being developed for the treatment of viral conjunctivitis and we have additional programs in other ophthalmic infections and ocular cancers.
Viral conjunctivitis (a subtype of acute conjunctivitis), which may also be known as pink eye, is a serious ophthalmic infection with potential long-term negative effects. Viral conjunctivitis results in moderate to severe inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. Corneal opacity occurs in 20-50% of viral conjunctivitis cases, and can lead to scarring or clouding of the cornea. Significantly, this may result in long-term visual impairment and premature/chronic dry eye.
There are approximately 30 million cases of acute conjunctivitis annually worldwide, including 6 million cases each year in the United States alone. Up to 90% of all viral forms of conjunctivitis result from a single viral family, known as adenovirus. Despite the high incidence and known cause of viral conjunctivitis, there are no approved therapies for the disease, and care is mainly supportive.
OKG-0301 is an ophthalmic formulation of ranpirnase, a bioactive therapeutic that has been evaluated as an intravenous formulation through late stage oncology clinical trials in more than 800 patients. Unlike current approaches to managing viral conjunctivitis symptoms, OKG-0301 has a novel mechanism of action that allows it to preferentially localize within virally infected cells, where it inhibits viral replication and reduces pro-inflammatory signaling.
Preclinical studies demonstrate that OKG-0301 significantly accelerates viral clearance in an accepted animal model of eye infection. It has also been shown to reduce the duration of viral shedding, which is important for reducing the spread of infection both from person to person and from infected to uninfected eyes in individual patients. If shown effective in human clinical trials, OKG-0301 would be a first-in-class therapy that would enable early intervention in patients with viral conjunctivitis. Such intervention is essential for protecting eye health and limiting the spread of conjunctivitis.