PARIS and CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Eyevensys, a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing non-viral gene therapies for ophthalmic diseases, has entered into strategic engagements with U.S.-based medical device manufacturers Phillips-Medisize and Minnetronix Medical to develop the next generation of the company’s core technology. Eyevensys has embarked on the development of a new generation of system devices focusing on optimizing their ease-of-use and manufacturability, the company said in a statement. Phillips-Medisize will be responsible for Ocular Device design optimization and the high-volume manufacturing capability to support the commercial launch, and Minnetronix Medical will fulfill the same responsibilities for the Pulse Generator component. Work at both contract manufacturers has been initiated, according to Eyevensys.

Alan Wirbisky, director of device development at Eyevensys, said, “The opportunity to collaborate with both Minnetronix Medical and Phillips-Medisize is incredibly significant for Eyevensys given the capabilities and experience that the two companies possess. As we look to transition our attention to our other programs for wet AMD, geographic atrophy, retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma, we are thrilled to have the support of these outstanding cohorts.

"We’re also grateful for the longtime support of our two French manufacturing partners—Cisteo Medical, Besancon, France the developer and manufacturer of the current generation ocular devices as well as Valotec, Villejuif, France developer of the current Pulse Generator. Both companies have been instrumental in Eyevensys achieving its early goals,” Wirbisky said.

The Eyevensys technology, developed by Professor Francine Behar-Cohen, uses electroporation to deliver proprietary DNA plasmids encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle of the eye. This approach induces the sustained intraocular production of therapeutic proteins.

Eyevensys is advancing a dual gene plasmid, EYS809, expressing two therapeutic proteins, a potent VEGF inhibitor and an endogenous protein with anti-angiogenic and antifibrotic properties for the treatment of wet AMD, which also has the potential be a treatment for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema and central retinal vein occlusion.

Eyevensys is also developing EYS611, a treatment for the later stages of dry AMD and for retinitis pigmentosa and potentially other retinal degenerative conditions including glaucoma. The treatment encodes for a potent iron chelator with antioxidant and endogenous neuroprotective properties. In animal models, the treatment has been shown to be safe and effective at slowing the degeneration of retinal structure and preserving function.

EYS611 has been granted orphan drug designation for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa in the E.U. and in the U.S.

Additionally, Eyevensys has developed EYS606 as a potential new treatment for patients with chronic non-infectious uveitis (NIU). The therapy has been used to validate the proprietary Electrotransfection System, which in the case of EYS606, is combined with plasmids encoding for the production of a potent fusion protein which neutralizes the activity of TNFα, a cytokine that has been shown to play a pivotal role in mediating intraocular inflammation in NIU. EYS606 has been granted an orphan drug designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of NIU.

Eyevensys was founded in 2008. The company has offices in Paris, France and the U.S. The company is funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Pureos Bioventures, Bpifrance through the Innobio Fund, Karista, Inserm Transfert Initiative, Pontifax and the Global Health Sciences Fund, Korean Investment Partners.