This site use cookies
This site uses cookies that help us to improve our site by providing analytics and usage information. By clicking accept or continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our cookie policy. If you do not agree, please close this notice. Learn more

Exonate completes Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery Award programme

Posted on 6 Oct 2020

Cambridge July 2020: Exonate announces the completion of £4.9m Seeding Drug Discovery award programme that has allowed the development of a drug candidate for the treatment of wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

The Wellcome Trust award funded the lead optimisation programme including the non-clinical safety and toxicity studies.

The first in human study will commence in Q3 2020 in patients with Diabetic Macular Oedema.

Dr Catherine Beech OBE commented “Working with Wellcome Trust has been a very positive experience and we are delighted with the outcome of the project. We hope that this drug candidate will profoundly improve the treatment of patients with retinal vascular diseases and transform the lives of those suffering from vision loss.”

About Exonate:

Exonate is a privately held, early stage, biotech company spun out of the University of Nottingham that is focused on alternative splicing of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Exonate’s lead programme is focused on Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO) and wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wAMD).

Exonate have developed small molecules that inhibit production of pro-angiogenic VEGF through selective inhibition of serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (SRPK1)-mediated VEGF splicing.  These inhibitors have already demonstrated superior efficacy as topical agents in preclinical models of wAMD. 

Exonate is led by an experienced, international management team that has previously worked together with cross-disciplinary experience in medicine and drug development, as well as successful fundraising for early stage companies.


About Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO)*:

DMO is the build-up of fluid (Oedema) in a region of the retina called the macula. The macula is important for the sharp, straight-ahead vision that is used for reading, recognising faces, and driving. DMO causes vision loss in approximately 50% of people with diabetic retinopathy. Although it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses, DMO can happen at any stage of the disease.


About wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wAMD):

wAMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 years or older and affects more than 30 million patients worldwide, over 200,000 of those in the UK alone. If untreated patients are likely to lose sight in the affected eye within 24 months of disease onset.

The main currently available treatment options for DMO and wAMD are:

·         anti-VEGF antibody drugs – to prevent the growth of new blood vessels in the eye. Unlike small molecule drugs or eye drops these treatments must be injected into the eye once every 1 or 2 months. Resistance can develop to these drugs causing the disease to progress anew.

·         Laser surgery – to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye. This type of surgery is only suitable if blood vessel damage is not too extensive and if the abnormal blood vessels aren't close to the fovea, as performing surgery close to this part of the eye can cause permanent vision loss.

·         With DMO, Corticosteroids either injected or implanted into the eye, may be used alone or in combination with other drugs or laser surgery to treat DMO.


Please contact Sarah Buchallet at Exonate for further information 01223 734710




Categories related to this article

Company news