Arnaud Lacoste, PhD, on Addressing Unmet Needs in Corneal Dystrophies


The chief scientific officer of Aurion Biotech discussed the investigational cell therapy AURN001.

“It seems to us that a cell therapy is a much better option than typical corneal transplant for both patients and ophthalmic surgeons. For patients, the procedure required to deliver cells is much less invasive than typical corneal transplantation—and our clinical studies suggest that the cell therapy restores vision at least to the level that corneal transplants do currently. For ophthalmic surgeons,cell therapy is also advantageous because the procedure is less complex to perform [which] makes it much more likely that more ophthalmic surgeons will be able to provide the treatment and that improves, of course, patient access.”

The current standard of care for patients with corneal dystrophies in the United States and Western Europe is typically a corneal transplant. While the procedure can improve vision for these patients, it is a very invasive and complex procedure and the outcomes are often imperfect, making it a less–than ideal option for patients and ophthalmic surgeons alike. Furthermore, due to global shortages of donor corneal tissue, many patients with corneal dystrophies in other parts of the world cannot receive treatment for their condition at all. As such, a great unmet need remains for this patient community.

Arnaud Lacoste, PhD, the chief scientific officer of Aurion Biotech, co-authored a poster entitled “AURN001, a Cell Therapy with Immunomodulatory Properties Required for Long-term Maintenance of the Immunological Homeostasis of the Eye”, which is being presented by Christopher Littlefield, MSc, a principal scientist from Aurion Biotech, at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2023 Annual Meeting, held April 23-27, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana.1

In an interview with CGTLive™, Lacoste discussed the current standard of care for patients with corneal dystrophies, noting the limitations both from the perspectives of patients receiving the treatment and the surgeons providing the treatment. He also spoke about AURN001 (Vyznova), a corneal endothelial cell therapy, which the company is developing with the intention of addressing these unmet needs. AURN001 was recently approved for the treatment of bullous keratopathy of the cornea in Japan in March 2023, but it remains an investigational therapy in the rest of the world.2 Aurion Biotech is in the process of preparing an investigational new drug application for the therapy for submission to the FDA.3

Click here for more coverage of ARVO 2023.

1. Littlefield C, Berenshteyn F, Yasin J. AURN001, a cell therapy with immunomodulatory properties required for long-term maintenance of the immunological homeostasis of the eye. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2023 Annual Meeting. April 23-27, 2023; New Orleans, LA. Abstract #779 – C0380
2. Aurion Biotech receives approval from Japan’s PMDA for new drug application. News release. Aurion Biotech. March 23, 2023. Accessed April 25, 2023.
3. Aurion Biotech. Products. Website. Accessed April 25, 2023.
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