Technology Platforms in Ophthalmic Drug Delivery

Visulex Ocular Drug Delivery Systems

Aciont has two noninvasive, transscleral drug delivery platforms employing an eye applicator system which wears similarly as a scleral lens that administers a drug formulation. One, called Visulex-P (clinical treatment application on the right or below), is used to deliver small molecules passively and the other, called Visulex-I, based on iontophoresis, enables the transport of macromolecules. Both treatment modalities currently entail 10 minute or less treatments in a clinical setting administered by a nurse, technician or physician. The Visulex approach permits the administration of drugs from a topical administration on the scleral surface of the eye. With the novel Visulex applicator under treatments as short as five minutes, the drug diffuses through the transscleral pathway permeating drug from the front of the eye to the posterior sections of the eye. It is theorized that upon effective penetration of the drug, such solution traverses the highly permeable spherical layer of the so-called suprachoroidal space of the eye. The MRI on the right or below taken by Aciont researchers shows how an imaging agent applied topically penetrates the ocular layers over several hours following administration.

Visulex-P Transscleral Passive Diffusion-Based System for Small Molecules

Preclinical studies also demonstrate that small molecules penetrate the back of the eye tissues efficiently from a topical administration using Visulex-P. With our Visulex-P technology, typical actively applied forces such as iontophoresis provides impractical advantage for small molecules such as dexamethasone during short term treatments of 5 minutes or less (recommended treatment duration for small molecules). The photo on the right is the Visulex-P applicator being applied to an eye (click here to see the video demonstration). The applicators resemble the handling and feel of a scleral lens which is a type of contact lens worn throughout the day by people who have corneal physiology making it difficult to use ordinary corneal lenses. Click for a summary of the Visulex systems describing our approach in noninvasive ocular therapeutics.

Visulex-I for Transscleral Macromolecule Delivery

Visulex-I is a potentially safe, easy to use, cost-effective, noninvasive ocular drug delivery treatment for age related macular degeneration, which potentially can be operated by minimally trained health care professionals or even patients themselves. Visulex-I is based on ocular iontophoresis, a method of delivering drugs to the back of the eye using a mild electrical current.  Electroosmosis (EO) is the electric field induced convective solvent flow which can deliver macromolecule drugs into the eye. We found that EO solvent flow can be induced in the eye tissue by iontophoresis which efficiently transports macromolecules through the eye’s sclera and conjunctiva pores. Our preliminary data indicate that though Visulex-I EO (illustration on the right or below), we potentially can transport a therapeutically relevant dose of bevacizumab to the eye. EO of bevacizumab illustrated the delayed onset of retinal neovascularization in an animal model by 4 weeks compared to control (no treatment).