Shining a Light: In Recognition of Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month and we want to recognize the millions of people living with glaucoma and re-emphasize our commitment to helping find a cure… and offer hope that achieving this goal is possible
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging a nerve in the back of the eye called the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve can be caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) due to improper drainage and/or overproduction of fluid in the eye.
Glaucoma is currently the leading cause of irreversible blindness. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it affects approximately 80 million patients globally. This number is estimated to exceed 111 million patients by 2040.
Recent advancements in the development of therapies in the form of medications, laser treatments and surgeries have been significant, but there is still an unmet need for effective, high-precision IOP-reducing drugs. There are many glaucoma patients who don’t respond well or at all to current therapies. There are patients who develop drug tolerance, requiring them to switch to a different drug or combine drugs, and certain side effects can occur that reduce patient commitment to their drug regimen.
And this is where Skye comes in.
Skye is unlocking the pharmaceutical potential of cannabinoids with a new treatment paradigm.
The eye is rich with receptors that can be beneficially affected by cannabinoids. We believe our bioengineered cannabinoid-derived molecules have the potential to offer the therapeutic characteristics needed (and currently missing) to better treat glaucoma.
In our corner – making our approach a promising, new treatment – is our proprietary prodrug THCVHS, which is based on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The good news is that it’s already in preclinical studies and we are seeing positive results, which tells us we are heading in the right direction!
Skye acquired its proprietary prodrug THCVHS through a license and ongoing collaboration with the inventor of the molecule and technology, University of Mississippi.
Unlike other drugs on the market today, THCVHS has not only demonstrated the ability to significantly improve local delivery into the eye (both the anterior and posterior chambers) and lower IOP while potentially avoiding the systemic effects associated with THC. It has also been shown to significantly further reduce IOP and over a longer duration compared to leading commercialized drugs in the current glaucoma market! There are also signs that THCVHS could potentially provide unique neuroprotection capabilities and be able to provide protection against neurodegeneration of the optic nerve cells, a different disease mechanism that affects about one-third of glaucoma patients globally and is not addressed by any current available drug.
We are working towards the start of Skye’s first Phase 1 study of THCVHS later this year, which we expect will provide us with the data and validation (and value) we need to continue to progress our clinical studies.
It’s time to transform cannabinoids into the pharmaceutical game-changers they have the power to be and help change the lives of people living with glaucoma, including people we also know and love, around the world. And our team at Skye has the expertise, experience and unwavering passion to lead the way.
We invite you to join us in our journey.
– The Skye Team