May 15, 2019 – WallstreetPR.com, the leading agency and financial media network dedicated to covering the biotech industry, announces the publication of an article covering QBioMed (QBIO) who is counter punching glaucoma with powerful combinations combating one of the leading causes of vision loss worldwide and the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.
Glaucoma is a sneaky malady. It happens slowly over the passage of time rarely getting treated due to barriers from expensive screening costs. Yet, glaucoma is the second leading cause of vision loss worldwide and the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Estimates believe that glaucoma patients will rise to 76 million by 2020 and 111.8 million by 2040, according to Global Prevalence of Glaucoma and Projections of Glaucoma Burden through 2040:A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Yiy-Chung Tham published in the journal Ophthalmology.
“We estimated that the global number of people with glaucoma will increase by 74% from 2013 to 2040. This mainly results from the expected change in the number of older persons, which affects some regions more than others. Although the number of elderly persons is likely to increase only slowly in Europe and North America, it is expected to increase more dramatically in Asia and Africa because of increased life expectancy in these regions,” Dr. Tham and his colleagues from the Singapore Eye Institute attested.
An Underserved Patient Population
What makes this increase in glaucoma so concerning is not only the expense of screening but the sheer effectiveness of screening as a whole. Even in developed countries, it is estimated that 50% of glaucoma sufferers remain undetected. FDT tests indicate only 58.1% sensitivity measures meaning close to 50% of screened glaucoma patients were not positively identified. Sadly, employing more advanced imaging technology to screen for glaucoma, instead of FDT or tonometry (the common eye test that shoots a puff of air into the eye), does not seem to be any more effective. A study on the Heidelberg Retinal Tomography (HRT) in Australia found that the test was 46% sensitive, and 91% specific. Furthermore, to compound these problems, even when glaucoma is detected follow-up appointments and care are usually not taken. The reason for this is that glaucoma is largely asymptomatic until the disease becomes dire. A study from Ophthalmologic Epidemiology conducted in 2005 found that 20% of glaucoma patients recently diagnosed did not return for follow-up care.
This complex situation has created a dearth of options for proper treatment and a growing population of patients with very little hope. However, Q BioMed Inc., a biotechnology acceleration company, has taken steps towards fighting glaucoma in the near-term. In March, the company announced that both a diagnostic and therapeutic product was seeing rapid development.
Fighting Glaucoma with an Innovative Combination
The diagnostic product, GDF15 or Growth Differentiation Factor 15, is exclusively licensed from Washington University in St. Louis to QBIO. The biomarker can determine the severity of glaucoma and reduce the use of surrogate measures to evaluate the disease. Researchers at the university successfully validated the biomarker on rodents and in human patients after it was discovered by Dr. Rajendra Apte, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the university’s School of Medicine.
“We believe that current diagnostic tools like tonometry don’t really provide a very precise measurement or diagnosis of glaucoma itself at a cellular level,” stated Q BioMed’s CEO Denis Corin. “with the discovery of this new biomarker GDF15 and the subsequent kits that we’re developing, we are aiming to provide a very precise measurement of the cellular destruction that’s occurring inside the eye as the disease progresses. This is an important and unique development, exclusive to QBioMed and really brings precision medicine into the hands of the clinicians and the physicians treating these patients and allows them to accurately and precisely measure the disease progression by monitoring how those cells are responding or dying within the eye.”
Working synergistically with GDF15 will be Q BioMed’s MAN-01. The MAN-01 program is an eye drop formulation for Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma aiming to decrease intraocular pressure (IOP) by facilitating drainage of liquid via the Schlemm’s canal, a vascular structure responsible for maintaining fluid homeostasis in the eye. The company believes that MAN-01 is the only compound in development currently targeting this pathway as a solution, and the small molecule – which is produced in tandem with Mannin Research at McMaster and Northwestern Universities – helps with the realignment of the cellular structure in that pathway. Testing in mice has consistently delivered positive results in relieving IOP and the company is completing the optimization of the lead drug candidate for the short clinical proof of concept trial expected early next year.
“The use of GDF15 as a diagnostic tool to measure the severity and progression of glaucoma nicely complements our MAN-01 program for the treatment of glaucoma, Dr. George N. Nikopoulos, President & CEO Mannin Research. “Our team is excited by the potential game-changing impact that Dr. Apte’s invention will have on the practice of treating glaucoma.”
With these two items in production, Q BioMed’s pipeline could see lucrative licensing opportunities in the future. For example, the GDF15 diagnostic kit, after approval, could be in high demand as ophthalmologists use the test routinely to analyze and measure progress in their battery of patients. This would lead to a steady revenue stream for Q BioMed. Moreover, if patients were deemed to be suffering from glaucoma, MAN-01 could be used as a treatment option and could even be packaged alongside GDF15 as a complete platform for eye doctors.
Developments will be coming quickly from Q BioMed and Mannin Research. Most recently, Mannin Research attended ARVO 2019, the annual meeting for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and met with interested researchers and potential partners from the industry that will certainly be listening for updates on these two novel developments that could prove instrumental in the fight against glaucoma. We see this powerful combination seeding the pipeline and creating revenue opportunities for Q BioMed (QBIO) as the industry seeks new and improved solutions for the nearly 100 million people afflicted by this disease.
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