Antibody treatment for geographic atrophy enters clinical trials

Structure of the eye

Collaborators Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life have commenced a Phase I evaluation of BI 771716, their antibody fragment-based treatment developed to preserve the vision of people with geographic atrophy (GA).

Boehringer Ingelheim and CDR-Life entered a licensing agreement in May 2020 and announced the selection of an antibody fragment-based therapeutic candidate in September 2021.

BI 771716 is a highly specific antibody fragment of reduced size, enabling an optimised penetration through all retinal layers to the most critical target site driving GA disease pathology.

The companies believe that, based on its molecular properties, BI 771716 has the potential to achieve unprecedented efficacy.

“We are very pleased to start the clinical evaluation of BI 771716, which resulted from collaborative efforts with CDR-Life,” said Clive Wood, Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “This brings us another step closer to achieving our vision of developing precise treatments to stop vision loss, protecting and preserving both people’s eyesight and quality of life.”

Progressive retinal disease

Retinal diseases are a key area of focus for Boehringer, and the company has several products in Phase I and Phase II development targeting AMD, diabetic retinopathy and Stargardt’s disease.

CDR-Life is building a pipeline of novel antibody fragment-based T cell engagers against solid tumours, targeting the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The company’s first therapeutic candidate, CDR404, targets MAGE-A4 and is expected to enter the clinic in 2024.

GA is an irreversible retinal disease that occurs in people with late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). More than five million people worldwide suffer from GA, of which more than 40% are legally blind.

In August 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved complement C5 inhibitor Izervay, which is currently the only approved GA treatment with a statistically significant reduction in the rate of GA progression.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, Drug Discovery World

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