Athenagen begins testing ATG003

San Francisco-Athenagen Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, has begun phase I clinical testing of ATG003, its topical eye drop therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

San Francisco-Athenagen Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company, has begun phase I clinical testing of ATG003, its topical eye drop therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The randomized, placebo-controlled, ascending-dose clinical trial is the first human study of an eye drop anti-angiogenic therapy for AMD, according to the company. It is designed to evaluate ocular tolerability and safety for up to 14 days. A phase II efficacy study is expected to follow in 2007.

ATG003 is a proprietary formulation of mecamylamine that has shown efficacy in animal models and is a possible alternative to current AMD therapies, which require frequent needle injections directly into the eye. The topical therapy inhibits endothelial nicotinic acetylcholine receptors as well as vascular permeability, two hallmarks of neovascular AMD.