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Aerie Pharmaceuticals’ ROCK Inhibitor Demonstrates Positive Results in Glaucoma Patients in a Phase 2a Study

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Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel treatments for glaucoma, has announced positive results from a Phase 2a study of its Rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitor, AR-12286.

The study evaluated the safety, tolerability and efficacy of three different doses of AR-12286 in 88 patients with primary open angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

According to the study results, AR-12286 was safe and well-tolerated. There were no serious side effects reported in the study; mild to moderate and transient hyperemia (eye redness) was observed in a minority of patients. In addition, the Phase 2a study achieved statistical significance in demonstrating lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) with both once-daily and twice-daily treatment.

AR-12286 achieved a maximum change of mean IOP of 28% from baseline, which is comparable to, or exceeds, pressure lowering attained by the most commonly used glaucoma drugs as reported in other studies. The Company plans on submitting the full data set for presentation at an upcoming medical meeting.

David L. Epstein, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University Medical Center, and Co-Founder of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, commented, “I am greatly encouraged by the results of the Phase 2a study. ROCK inhibitors such as AR-12286 act directly on the diseased tissue that is responsible for elevated intraocular pressure, the trabecular meshwork, and now it has been shown in patients to safely and effectively lower IOP. The ability to target diseased tissue and act directly to restore normal function is a fundamental tenet of Medicine and one which current glaucoma therapies do not address. AR-12286 may have broad implications in glaucoma therapy and could offer the next major advancement in the field since the approval of latanoprost (Xalatan) in 1996.”

There are currently no ROCK inhibitors on the market, and AR-12286 is the first in class to report positive safety, tolerability and efficacy data in glaucoma patients.

The Phase 2a study was a U.S., multi-center, randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study in which patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three doses of AR-12286 or placebo. Patients were first dosed once daily and then twice daily and evaluated over a three-week treatment period.

Thomas van Haarlem, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, commented, “We are very pleased with these results and will soon initiate a Phase 2b study with once-daily dosing in a larger patient group in order to determine the optimal dose to take forward into Phase 3 registration studies. Aerie’s goal is to advance the quality of glaucoma care and the clinical success of AR-12286 represents a significant step. We have several other innovative R&D programs underway with significant therapeutic potential, including the recent discovery by Aerie scientists of a new class of dual-action glaucoma drugs.”