This French Biotech Targets Retinal Cells to Treat Blindness

Today, we’re in Paris, visiting SparingVision, a biotech trying to combat blindness using a protein that slows down the degeneration of cone cells in the retina.

Mission: SparingVision uses a naturally occurring protein called rod-derived cone-viability factor, which binds to a transmembrane peptide on cone photoreceptor cells in the retina and allows more glucose to enter the cells. This slows down or even prevents the death of these cells, thereby stopping vision loss. This could be especially helpful for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a severe form of vision loss that can lead to complete blindness.

Founded in 2017, SparingVision has already raised a total of €15.5M and plans to launch the first clinical trial for its therapy within the next year.

Comment: Sparing Vision has ambitious goals, as it hopes to deliver its treatment in a single injection and provide long-lasting efficacy, which may prove to be less invasive than surgically-implanted vision-restoring devices.

Other biotechs are targeting macular degeneration in response to a growing patient population as well. For example, GenSight announced earlier this year it will start a clinical trial in the UK to test its combination of a gene therapy and wearable device. It will be interesting to see how SparingVision’s peptide approach holds up in comparison.

Image by Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

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