Glaucoma is a collection of diseases that injure the optic nerve of the eyes and can eventually lead to loss of vision or complete blindness. People over the age of 60 years, especially Mexican Americans and African Americans and people with a family history of glaucoma are at greater risk of developing glaucoma at some point of time in their lives. It has also been observed that people with blood pressure and heart related problems are more likely to be affected by the condition. As per the estimates of the American Academy of Ophthalmology primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type of glaucoma, affects as many as 2.2 million people in the U.S. This figure is projected to reach 3.3 million by 2020 as the prevalence of ageing population in the U.S. is increasing. Visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, tonometry and pachymetry are some of the tests used to diagnose the disease. Treatment of the disease include medicines, laser trabeculoplasty and surgical interventions.
Some of the main growth drivers of the pipeline of therapeutics for glaucoma include increasing geriatric population and expenditure on healthcare. New regulations that have increased the medical coverage of glaucoma drugs and increasing incidence of high blood pressure among general population are also expected to contribute to the growth in the pipeline of the disease. Innovations in the drug therapies for glaucoma is another key factor driving the growth of pipeline glaucoma therapeutics.
Some of the promising drug candidates in the late stage of clinical development for the treatment of glaucoma include Latanoprost/netarsudil mesylate by Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Phase III trials, Rostaporfin by Adgero Biopharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. in Phase III trials, Tavilermide by Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Phase III trials and Omidenepag isopropyl by Ube Industries, Ltd. in Phase III trials. Many companies are either acquiring or collaborating with other companies to advance their drug candidates in the pipeline. For example, in August 2016, Allergan plc acquired ForSight VISION5, Inc. as part of the acquisition, Allergan plc acquired ForSight VISION5’s lead development program, a peri-ocular ring designed for extended drug delivery for glaucoma patients. In March 2017, Nemus Bioscience Inc. entered into a deal with Nanomerics Ltd. (Nanomerics’s), for the development of a topical ocular formulation of tetrahydrocannabinol-valine-hemisuccinate (THCVHS) for the treatment of glaucoma. THCVHS is an active ingredient of NB 1111. Under the terms of the deal, Nanomerics’s received the rights to use the patented Molecular Envelope Technology (MET) to develop clinical grade eye drops. In April 2016, D.Western Therapeutics Institute, Inc. entered into a strategic agreement with Allysta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the development of H 1337 for the treatment of patients with glaucoma. In July 2013, SK Biopharmaceuticals and AriBio entered into a collaboration agreement for SK Biopharmaceutical’s new small molecule, SKL G, which is being developed for the treatment of glaucoma.
Some of the major players involved in the development of drug candidates for the treatment glaucoma include Allysta Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc., Adgero Biopharmaceuticals Inc., SENJU Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Mimetogen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Ocular Therapeutix, Inc., Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd., Allergan plc, Laboratoires THEA S.A.S, Gene Signal International SA, Zentiva N.V.