Hemera Biosciences Obtains Initial Funding for Gene-based Treatment for AMD

March 25, 2013

Hemera Biosciences is a privately held biotechnology company developing anti-complement gene based therapies for the treatment of dry and wet age related macular degeneration (AMD).

Hemera recently has obtained initial funding, along with a U.S. patent for its CD59 gene therapy. The funding will allow Hemera to begin manufacturing its drug, as well as testing it on animals, and starting a Phase 1 study in humans.

To review, Hemera’s gene therapy uses an AAV2 vector to express a soluble form of a naturally occurring membrane bound protein called CD59 (sCD59), which blocks MAC (membrane attack complex). Membrane attack complex is the final common pathway of activation of the complement cascade, and is composed of complement factors C5b, C6, C7, C8 and C9 that assemble as a pore on cell membranes. The MAC pore induces ionic fluid shifts leading to cell destruction and ultimate death.

Hemera’s gene therapy works by increasing the production of sCD59 by ocular cells. The sCD59 released from the cells will circulate throughout the eye and penetrate the retina to block MAC deposition and prevent cellular destruction. By blocking MAC, the remainder of the upstream complement cascade is left intact to perform its normal homeostatic roles.

To read more, please take a look at my blog writeup by following this link: http://tinyurl.com/GeneTherapy17




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