Gemini Therapeutics, a US-based clinical stage ophthalmic company focused on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has announced a collaboration with the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). SERI and Gemini will aim to build a research collaboration with genetic and potential biomarkers in patients diagnosed with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV). Gemini will apply its understanding of “the links between genetic variants, the impact on the expression of specific genes, and the diagnosis of PCV”. According to the company, PCV and AMD are related diseases, and there are shared genetic causes between the two conditions. As of September 2019, SERI has amassed an impressive array of publications amounting to more than 3,700 scientific papers, and has secured more than 340 external peer-reviewed competitive grants. SERI’s faculty has been awarded with more than 610 national and international prizes and filed more than 130 patents.
The research company stated that polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV) is a disease affecting the blood vessels in the choroid which supports the retina. Abnormal branching of the blood vessels in the choroid results in aneurysms known as polyps, which can cause leakage of blood and fluid under the retina, causing elevations in the retina and substructures. Patients with PCV may eventually experience irreversible central vision loss in one or both eyes. The disorder is estimated at a prevalence of between 23% and 54% in Asian populations diagnosed with AMD. Current treatments for PCV can involve laser or intravitreal injections, but the response is variable and the preferred treatment for PCV remains unclear.
The Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) is Singapore’s national research institute for ophthalmic and vision research. It is the research arm of Singapore National Eye Centre, and has close working relationships with A*STAR Research Institutes, Nanyang Technological University and other biomedical institutions and eye centers in Singapore and throughout the world. Following the collaboration, Prof Gemmy Cheung, the head of AMD research at SERI said, “polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy represents a significant proportion of patients with neovascular AMD, especially in Asia. Currently there are limited or no specific treatment options for PCV. Exploring the molecular impact of specific genes linked to PCV in this SERI-Gemini collaboration will provide important new information towards designing innovative therapies in future. We are very excited indeed.”