Dr Wenqian Chen | National University of Singapore; A/Prof. Lakshminarayanan Rajamani | SERI
Competition Sponsor: Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation of Singapore
Awardee year: 2022
This project develops the first topical non-invasive formulation (in the form of eye drop) to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is one of the major causes of avoidable blindness for people aged 50 and above, affecting 1.8 million people per year globally. New therapeutics are needed urgently to address the challenges faced by the current anti-VEGF therapy, namely low patient compliance to the monthly intravitreal injection for a prolonged period, and limited efficacy (i.e. 30-50% of patients do not respond or have poor response, while ~51% of patients still have active disease after 2 years). Our eye drop is based on the therapeutic peptide developed by the co-investigator, A/P Rajamani Lakshminarayanan that has shown effective inhibition of multiple angiogenesis pathways in mice. This therapeutic peptide is modified in the current project to be multi-targeting long-acting, cell penetrating and highly bioavailablity to achieve better sequela. The composition of the eye drop is optimised to prolong the storage stability at temperatures that can be conveniently achieved in normal households (i.e. 4 – 25 °C).