Fujifilm Holdings (TSE:4901) company Cellular Dynamics International said today it is launching Opsis Therapeutics, a new venture aiming to develop treatments for patient suffering from retinal diseases.
The newly formed business aims to focus on retinal cell manufacturing and application of regenerative medicines for treating retinal diseases, the company said. CDI made the initial seed investment in Opsis Therapeutics with additional investments slated “as needed” for full-scale development.
“Acquired and inherited diseases of the retina, such as age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, afflict tens of millions of people worldwide. However, there currently are no therapeutic options available that can broadly mitigate or restore the permanent loss of vision and blindness these conditions can cause. At Opsis Therapeutics, we see promise in a variety of new approaches. For example, over the past decade, it has become feasible to generate new photoreceptors from induced pluripotent stem cells and transplant them into the diseased retina, with additional advances anticipated in the future. Our goal is to build on this progress, move in a safe yet determined manner toward new therapeutic strategies, and ultimately, to improve the standard of care for patients impacted by retinal diseases,” chief scientific officer Dr. David Gamm said in a press release.
“Over the past decade CDI has established the leading platform for the development and manufacture of iPSC-based cell therapeutics, including the differentiation of iPSC into retinal lineages under cGMP conditions. To ensure genetic matching of iPSC-derived cell therapeutics with the patient, and to reduce or prevent tissue rejection, we have built and continue to expand a cGMP iPSC bank from HLA homozygous donors. This bank will provide Opsis with an ideal starting material for the company’s therapeutics pipeline, and a major advantage in the development of first-in-class cell therapies for the treatment of retinal diseases,” newly appointed Opsis Therapeutics prez & CDI prez & COO Emile Nuwaysir said in prepared remarks.