by Dan Roberts
(Updated September 29, 2008)
Potentia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced on March 20, 2007 that it was entering the clinical phase of development of POT-4 for treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to the researchers, POT-4, a synthetic peptide, shuts down the complement activation system that can lead to local inflammation, tissue damage (as in dry AMD) and the resulting blood vessel growth (angiogenesis in wet AMD). Discovered by Professor John Lambris, University of Pennsylvania, POT-4 is the first complement inhibitor tested in patients with AMD.
On September 29, 2008, the company announced that POT-4 was showing early positive safety results in its Phase I study.
Several studies in 2005 provided evidence that complement factors H and B may cause AMD in more than 50% of cases. Normally, activation of the complement system is an important part of the body’s defensive immune response. Defective genes, however, can trigger inappropriate or excessive complement activation, and disease can result. If trials are successful, POT-4 could be an effective treatment for AMD until further research leads to a genetic cure.
MD Support has been told that the delivery method will most likely be intravitreal. This could mean injection, implantation of a timed-release capsule, or some other system that will be effective for a period of 6-12 months. Systemic injection or topical medication (i.e. eyedrops) are not in the plans, since they have not been shown to be as effective as intravitreal.