EKC (epidemic keratoconjunctivitis) is an eye infection caused by adenovirus – a worldwide problem which today lacks efficient treatment. Typical symptoms are acute onset of severe pain, foreign body sensation, watering redness in the conjunctiva, edema and diminishing eyesight. Symptoms include inflammation in the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) and in the cornea (keratitis). EKC is a serious disease and can cause deteriorating vision for the patient, and has a vast health economic impact on the society. In some countries, like in Japan and Germany EKC is a reportable infection. Adenovir Pharma is developing the possibly first effective treatment of EKC.
New solution for treatment of viral eye infection
EKC is a highly contagious infectious disease which occurs worldwide sporadically and epidemically. It is considered a major health problem in many countries. The scientific research work was performed by Professor Göran Wadell MD, PhD, Professor Niklas Arnberg PhD, and others at the University of Umeå in Sweden. Together with scientists at the Department of Chemistry, University of Lund, Professor Olov Sterner and Professor Ulf Ellervik and co-workers developed several new candidates which have been tested with positive results. One candidate drug candidate was chosen for further development – APD-209. The product is topical pharmaceutical product preventing EKC-causing adenoviruses from binding to the receptors in the human eye. The adenoviruses are aggregated and inhibited from binding to and infecting human corneal cells.
The goal is to develop a topical antiviral pharmaceutical product for treatment and potential use for prevention of adenoviral conjunctivitis, Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC). Our drug candidate APD-209 Eyedrops was concluded to be safe and well tolerated in several pre-clinical toxicity studies and a Phase I clinical study also showed that the product is safe and well tolerated. A multi-center randomised double-masked placebo-controlled phase II clinical study in EKC patients is currently ongoing. Results from an on-going phase II clinical study are expected in 2015.