23 October 2019
London, England: This year, the Global Innovation and New Technology (GIANT) Health Event took place on October 15 – 16 in London. This event brought thousands of pioneers among the health tech industry. Among them was Dr. Kelsey Moody, CEO at Ichor Therapeutics.
Lysoclear develops a therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration
Dr. Moody presented a talk titled “Towards enzyme augmentation therapy for macular degeneration.” During his presentation, Dr. Moody discussed recent progress at Lysoclear, an Ichor portfolio company. Lysoclear is developing an enzyme therapy to treat both age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt’s disease. Today, more than 200 million people worldwide are affected by these diseases.
In 2018, Lysoclear demonstrated proof of concept that lipofuscin — a product of cell aging that is a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration — can be removed from the eye using enzyme therapy. This approach could establish a precedent that human cells can be enhanced by enzymes to remove other harmful, age-related substances. Dr. Moody also discussed Lysoclear’s progress in 2019 towards developing a drug candidate suitable for use in first-in-man Phase I clinical trials. This work is ongoing.
Lysoclear’s work could have a significant impact on the treatment of other age-related ophthalmological diseases.
Field of aging has growing to do
During the “Healthspan and Longevity” panel, Dr. Moody spoke among experts to answer the question “Can we live healthier, longer lives through biotechnology?” The panel agreed that there is consensus among the scientific community for the 7 hallmarks of aging, and companies are actively pursuing therapeutic interventions to address all 7 hallmarks.
The race is on for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs for aging.
Dr. Moody stated that while there is consensus about the hallmarks of aging, the field of aging must mature. He cited a current lack of regulatory framework — framework which must be established for bona fide anti-aging drugs to obtain regulatory approval. The field of aging, Dr. Moody stated, needs consensus about this framework between think tanks, regulatory agencies, consortia, and companies in the space.
However, Dr. Moody noted, that as the field of aging matures, consensus among the community will follow.
He also noted the difference between academic research and pharmaceutical development. Dr. Moody commented that input from experienced drug developers is crucial to prepare academic proof-of-concept molecules for use in humans.