Spanish biotech Bionure has started an early stage trial of a new drug to treat rare neurologic eye diseases, which also shows promise for treatment of multiple sclerosis and other similar conditions.
The therapy (BN201) is the first its class and if successful in clinical trials will be the only treatment that can help repair the damage caused by rare eye conditions such as acute optic neuritis and neuromyelitis optica. No other treatments of this type are currently available, although other players such as MedDay have also been investigating therapies in this field with varying success.
These conditions affect around 130,000 patients a year in the US and Europe and, in around a third of cases, optic neuritis is one of the early signs of multiple sclerosis. They involve damage to the optic nerve that can cause pain and sight loss. People who are affected are currently given corticosteroids and immunomodulating drugs to reduce inflammation, but these treatments cannot repair the nerve damage caused by either disease.