Exciting news to report: Pittsburgh is the U.S. site for a clinical trial with a gene-independent, cone sparing therapy for retinitis pigmentosa.
SparingVision, a French company developing therapies for ocular conditions including inherited retinal diseases, recently received authorization from the FDA for this Phase ½ clinical trial known as PRODYGY for SPVN06. The plan is to enroll a total of 33 RP patients who have disease-causing mutations in PDE6A, PDE6B, or RHO. SPVN is funded by international top investors, including Foundation Fighting Blindness RD Fund and UPMC Enterprises, Ysios, Jeito, BPI, and 4Bio.
SPVN06 expresses a protein called rod-derived cone-viability factor (RdCVF), a naturally occurring protein in the retina identified by SparingVision co-founders José-Alain Sahel, MD (chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh) and Thierry Léveillard, PhD, at the Institut de la Vision. According to the Foundation Fighting Blindness press release, they demonstrated in laboratory studies that RdCVF prevented or slowed the degeneration of cones, the cells in the retina that provide central and color vision and enable people to read, drive, and recognize faces.
“We are delighted to see this discovery entering the clinical stage after 27 years of work,” Dr. Sahel said. “This gene-independent approach has the potential to prevent further vision loss in a large proportion of patients affected with these currently untreatable conditions.”
The company just obtained authorization from regulatory bodies to conduct the trial in France.