Non-academic partner: iDaruma
Project Title: Development of novel treatments for age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Europe and the US. Current therapies for neovascular AMD consist of monthly intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF antibodies delivered over several years. For most patients it is an effective therapy. However, it has significant side effects, including uveitis, retinal detachment, and endophthalmitis. There is a clear unmet need for topical applications (e.g. eye drops) that can be applied by the patient themselves without the requirement of a clinical environment. Unfortunately, the eye poses significant difficulties to drug delivery as the structures of the eye intrinsically act as barriers to the penetration of drugs.
Our preliminary work has investigated the use of nanoparticle drug delivery agents (NPA). We have established that they are able to translocate and deliver 100 times higher concentrations of therapeutics into the eye than existing technologies which are in development. We have also shown that both large (150 kDa), and smaller therapeutics (2.9 kDa) used in anti-VEGF therapy can be successfully transported using these NPA.
The aim of this PhD is to establish important structure-activity relationships (SARs) in an effort to understand the mechanism by which the NPA binds to therapeutic targets and delivers these across a membrane. This includes the development of the technology through formulation, testing and towards the clinic. Prospective candidates with a track record in chemistry are encouraged to apply.