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KDDF-201306-05 Drug Discovery for Diabetic Macular Edema through Drug Repositioning(Others, Chemical) [10.07.2013]


Development and Market Objectives

Our team is developing a novel therapeutic for diabetic retinopathy through cutting-edge research techniques. We aim to develop a new treatment paradigm by evaluating the efficiency of drug treatment for diabetic retinopathy on newly-selected disease targets. 

Unmet Medical Need & Target Patients

Diabetic retinopathy causes a loss of eyesight in diabetic patients as a result of bleeding or macular edema due to increased vascular permeability of the choroid coat. The number of afflicted patients continues to grow rapidly in correlation with increases in the aging population and diabetes prevalence. Recent analysis (Pharm Letters 2011), has estimated the market value of the disease to be US 2.5 billion dollars by 2018, with a 9% annual growth. 

Several currently-available therapeutics (eg. Lucentis) target the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), but due to a high risk of cardiovascular disorders and high costs, the development of a new treatment that does not target VEGF is needed.    

The therapeutic response to anti-VEGF agents in diabetic macular edema appears to be variable and are much less robust compared to its effect in proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Although VEGF has been shown to play a predominant role in inducing abnormal vessel growth and leakage in proliferative diabetic retinopathy, whether VEGF is also a major contributor to vascular permeability in DME is not evident. It indicates the need to identify additional molecular pathways which could be potential therapeutic targets in diabetic macular edema. 


Processing of a diabetic retinopathy animal model test is underway, with dose-finding studies for candidate administration.

Intellectual Property

Two Korean Patents have been registered.

Competitive Advantages

New disease target: The development of new drugs for diabetic macular edema that do not target VEGF will circumvent patent barriers.

Excellent safety: VEGF modulates abnormal blood vessels as well as normal vessels, which specifically enhances risk of cardiovascular disorders in diabetic patients. However our novel disease target does not modulate normal blood vessels to a severe extent, thus it reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

Competitive pricing: The currently projected price is very favorable when compared to current treatment costs of VEGF-specific therapeutics.

Drug repositioning:  A new indication of approved drug for other uses has been investigated in our study. 


Diabetic Macular Edema

Research Period

Sep. 1st, 2013 to Dec. 30th, 2014


Ajou Univ.

Developmental Stage

Candidate Selection    

Additional Information

Contact Information

Address Company Name: College of Pharmacy, Ajou University
WebSite Homepage: Contact Person: Wonhee Suh, Professor
E-mail: Contact: +82-31-219-3445

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