Kriya announces exclusive license, collaboration, agreement with Everads to advance gene therapies for diseases in ophthalmology, Including GA

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Kriya is developing a one-time gene therapy designed to block complement C3 and C5, which are clinically validated substrates targeted by FDA approved therapies, to delay the progression of geographic atrophy.

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(Image Credit: ©Einstock - Adobe.Stock.com)

Kriya Therapeutics Inc. has entered into an exclusive license, collaboration and supply agreement with Everads Therapy, Ltd to advance Kriya’s portfolio of gene therapies for retinal diseases using Everads' suprachoroidal delivery device.

The therapy is an emerging treatment for diseases in ophthalmology, including geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) and affects approximately 1 million people in the United States.

According to a news release, Everads, a private biotech company, has developed a novel technology enabling targeted delivery of therapies to the retina via the suprachoroidal space, an anatomical compartment located between the sclera and choroid that traverses the circumference of the posterior segment of the eye.

Ophthalmology is an area where suprachoroidal delivery is emerging as a non-surgical route of administration, Kriya noted, specifically in the delivery of gene therapy. The company noted this route of administration could enhance the efficiency of gene therapy delivery to the retina while minimizing intraocular inflammation.

Moreover, the company also noted the collaboration would provide Kriya with access to Everads’ suprachoroidal delivery technology to deliver multiple prespecified gene therapy product candidates for several ophthalmic diseases, including those involving the complement cascade.

According to the news release, dysregulation of the complement system has been implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of geographic atrophy. Kriya noted in the release its approach is a one-time adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy that drives the expression of a CR2-CR1 (complement receptor 2-complement receptor 1) fusion protein that is designed to inhibit complement C3 and C5. The company noted in its news release these are also targeted by the first two FDA-approved treatments for geographic atrophy which require monthly or bi-monthly intraocular injections.

Shankar Ramaswamy, MD, co-founder and CEO of Kriya, said in the news release the company is looking to the future with the new agreement.

“We are excited about the potential to advance a gene therapy that blocks both complement C3 and C5, which are validated biological targets for the treatment of geographic atrophy,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “Our collaboration with Everads aligns with our vision to implement next-generation delivery technologies that can optimize AAV delivery to the eye via one-time administration, which has the potential to substantially reduce patient burden associated with repeated intravitreal injections or subretinal surgical approaches.”

Furthermore, Moshe Weinstein, executive chairman and CEO of Everads, said in the news release his company believes its suprachoroidal delivery technology provides a potential leap forward for novel eye care therapies.

“Our proprietary, geometrically-optimized non-sharp tissue separator opens a path into the suprachoroidal space, enabling a more convenient tangential injection that can support rapid and extensive drug distribution,” Weinstein said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with Kriya to enable delivery of cutting-edge gene therapy via the suprachoroidal space that may ultimately improve the quality of life for patients with geographic atrophy.”

According to the news release, Kriya's gene therapy candidate for geographic atrophy has the following potential benefits:

  • One-time AAV administration may substantially lower the patient burden imposed by currently approved treatments for GA that require monthly or bimonthly intraocular injections – while also delivering multiyear efficacy in the setting of a progressive degenerative disease;
  • Continuous expression of the CR2-CR1 fusion protein results in potent inhibition of the complement cascade by the CR1 domain designed to block C3 and C5, while also through the action of the CR2 domain, targeting this inhibition to the site of complement fragment deposition on damaged cell surfaces; and
  • Administration via the suprachoroidal space could maximize transduction of retinal cells while minimizing inflammation often linked with intravitreal and other routes of administration.

Quan Dong Nguyen, MD, MSc, FARVO, FASRS, professor of Ophthalmology at the Byers Eye Institute, and professor of Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, pointed out in the news release the importance of finding new and innovative treatment options for GA.

“Geographic atrophy causes a debilitating loss of vision that can dramatically impact the lives of patients—we are in dire need of effective and conveniently administered therapies that slow or halt the progression of this disease,” Nguyen said in a statement.

Nguyen said he is optimistic and convinced that innovative therapies will continue to improve the lives of people with geographic atrophy and other serious ophthalmic diseases.

“A gene therapy targeting the C3 and C5 pathways delivered by a suprachoroidal injection may be a significant improvement in the treatment of geographic atrophy,” he concluded in the news release.

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