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Ocular Cystinosis

Ocular cystinosis is a disease in which the cornea gets filled with crystals of cystine, which is the oxidized form of amino acid cysteine106. The crystal formation eventually leads to many ocular complications, including blindness106. The current state of the art for treating ocular cystinosis are eye drops with the drug Cysteamine which must be delivered 8-times each day. Patients find it difficult to comply with such frequent eye drops limiting the efficacy of the therapy which makes our approach of treating the disease very appealing. Freya uses contact lenses to deliver the drug, replacing the 8 eye drops with a single lens each day. Freya already has in vitro, ex vivo and safety in vivo data validating this approach106,107,108. When introduced to the market the company expects to achieve significant market share at an annual cost of therapy of $50,000. Freya’s innovation will significantly improve the quality of life of cystinosis patients and increase compliance and efficacy. This should lead to improved outcomes. The safety of cysteamine releasing lenses has already been established in rabbits49 and IND application is approved and current. Next steps for the company are to focus on submitting applications to the regulatory agencies in Europe as well and to start clinical studies and to gain orphan status designation. The research in this area is supported by the Cystinosis Foundation in Ireland which has given us opportunities to interact closely with patients. There is no doubt that our contact lens-based therapy will be a game changer for these patients.