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GEN News Highlights : Feb 18, 2010

Schepens Eye Institute Receives Unrestricted Grant to Progress Retinal Stem Cell Collaboration with ReNeuron

Initial aim is to develop human retinal progenitor cell-derived therapies for retinitis pigmentosa.

ReNeuron reported that its retinal stem cell collaboration with the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School will benefit from an unrestricted industrial grant awarded to the Schepens facility. The funding will be used to progress the first phase of a two-year translational program by Schepens and ReNeuron that aims to develop human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC)-based therapies for eye diseases.

The initial focus of the project is retinal pigmentosa, for which ReNeuron has designated ReN003 as the lead candidate. The first phase aims to demonstrate that grafting hRPCs in ophthalmic disease models leads to functional improvement in vision. The partners will also look to optimize the yield of hRPCs in culture ahead of future GMP manufacture.

ReNeuron maintains that hRPCs developed as part of the program will almost certainly have applications as cell therapies against other ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.