Kiora, Looking to Conserve Cash, Sharpens Focus on Rare Retinal Diseases

August 9, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Kiora Pharmaceuticals said it will sharpen its focus on rare retinal diseases and will expand clinical development of its experimental therapy for retinitis pigmentosa to include choroideremia and Stargardt’s disease.

All three of those conditions involve degeneration of retinal photoreceptors but preserve the downstream retinal ganglion cells, which are the target of its experimental therapy KIO-301 are rare, orphan diseases for which there are no available treatments.

The company, which reported it had $8 million at the end of the second quarter ending June 30, said it still has $9.6 million on a $10 million credit line that can draw down.

As part of its new focus, Kiora will shift clinical development resources allocated for KIO-101 to treat the ocular presentation of rheumatoid arthritis to KIO-104, for the treatment of posterior non-infectious uveitis, a rare T-cell-mediated, intraocular inflammatory disease.

KIO-104 uses the same active compound in KIO-101 but it is formulated for intravitreal delivery. Kiora said it is ideally suited to potentially suppress overactive T-cell activity to treat the underlying condition. Data from a previous phase 1b/2a study showed that a single injection of KIO-104 decreased intraocular inflammation in a dose-dependent fashion and improved visual acuity significantly during the duration of the study.

Continued development of the anterior segment applications for KIO-101 and KIO-201 will be dependent on potential strategic partnerships.

“Our sharpened focus is due in large part to the preliminary results we’ve observed in the ABACUS study, which reaffirm we’re on the right path,” said Brian Strem, president and CEO of Kiora. “There’s a tremendous need for new treatments for RP, Choroideremia and Stargardt’s Disease and KIO-301 has the potential to treat all three in a similar fashion. This includes our newly planned extension of the ABACUS study to include additional RP and choroideremia patients. By pursuing all three with the same therapeutic, we plan to realize efficiencies that can get a new therapy to patients as quickly as possible.”

Photo: Brian Strem, president and CEO of Kiora

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