The chief scientific officer of Aurion Biotech discussed the properties of the cell therapy for corneal dystrophies, which was recently approved in Japan.
“We've had patients go from barely being able to care for themselves to riding a motorcycle around in their daily life... We are really looking forward to bringing this to patients in the Western world and the rest of the world eventually, because this has such an impact on people's lives.”
The current standard of care for patients with corneal dystrophies is typically a corneal transplant when donor corneal tissue is available. The procedure can improve vision for these patients, but it carries a risk of immune rejection. On top of this concern, global shortages of donor corneal tissue means that many patients with corneal dystrophies, especially outside of the United States and western Europe, cannot receive treatment for their condition at all.
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 was presented by Christopher Littlefield, MSc, a principal scientist at 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 The poster covered non-clinical research on the immunomodulatory properties of AURN001 (Vyznova), a corneal endothelial cell therapy which was approved in Japan under the name Vyznova in March 2023 and is progressing towards clinical trials in the United States.2
In an interview with CGTLive™, Lacoste discussed the findings of the research, noting that the study provided evidence that AURN001 cells contribute to immune privilege in the anterior chamber of the eye. He stated that this property likely explains why there have been no cases of immune rejection in over 130 patients treated with AURN001 in clinical trials so far. Lacoste also discussed the positive efficacy results seen in patients treated with AURN001 and took a broader view to discuss the challenges that exist when it comes to manufacturing and commercializing cell therapies in general.