Healthcare Industry News:  retinitis pigmentosa 

Biopharmaceuticals Ophthalmology

 News Release - April 17, 2007

Neurotech Initiates two Phase II/III Clinical Trials of NT-501 for the Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa

LINCOLN, R.I., April 17 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in the development of innovative sight- saving therapeutics for chronic retinal diseases, announced today that enrollment has begun for two Phase II/III clinical trials involving NT-501, the Company's lead Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT) product for the treatment of visual loss associated with retinitis pigmentosa. These trials are part of the company's RENOIR* series of clinical studies. One trial will include patients with an earlier stage of the disease, while the other will include patients at a later stage of the disease.

NT-501 is an intraocular, polymer implant containing human retinal epithelial cells genetically modified to secrete Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNTF). The implant is designed to continuously release CNTF directly into the back of the eye for sustained periods of time. The Phase II/III trials are randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled dose ranging studies that will evaluate the efficacy and safety of the CNTF implant and will be conducted at fourteen sites throughout the United States.

retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited eye diseases that affect the retina. RP causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. Photoreceptor cells capture and process light helping us to see. As these cells degenerate and die, patients experience progressive vision loss. Besides high doses of Vitamin A that have been shown to provide some benefit for RP patients, there is no known way to halt the degeneration of the retina or cure the disease.

"We are especially pleased to be in a position to begin enrollment of these trials involving NT-501, a potentially valuable therapeutic tool for the treatment of RP. This disease robs the vision of many who are in the prime of their lives," stated Ted Danse, President and CEO of Neurotech.

* Retinal Neurotrophic Ocular Implant Research Studies

Further information about the trials can be found on the RENOIR website at In addition, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is working closely with Neurotech by disseminating information within the RP community and by providing support for various aspects of the clinical development for these trials.

"Neurotech's treatment has the potential to save the vision of many people affected by a variety of retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome" said Stephen Rose, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer, Foundation Fighting Blindness. "We are very excited about this promising, emerging treatment with its potential to help many people, regardless of the underlying genetic cause of their disease."

About Neurotech

Neurotech is a privately-held biotechnology company dedicated to the development of sight-saving therapeutics for chronic retinal diseases. Retinal diseases represent significant unmet medical needs for which new medical therapies are the largest market opportunity in ophthalmology.

Neurotech's lead product (NT-501) is in clinical development for the treatment of retinal degeneration, including retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease leading to blindness, and atrophic macular degeneration (dry AMD). Neurotech is also evaluating other factors that can be used with its proprietary delivery technology, Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT), to treat additional retinal diseases.

The company was founded in France as Neurotech S.A., and in June 2006 moved its legal domicile to Delaware, USA, to become more closely aligned with its research, development, manufacturing and business operations in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

To learn more about Neurotech, please visit our web site at

Source: Neurotech

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