A Novel Peptide-based Topical Therapeutic to Promote Corneal Regeneration and Restore Corneal Biomechanics Following Blast and Burn Injuries

Period of Performance: 09/28/2015 - 04/27/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Firststring Research, LLC
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Ocular traumas resulting from explosive or incendiary devices are one of the most common injuries reported by our armed forces. Current standard of care protocols do not address the biological and molecular processes in corneal wound healing, and therapeutic failure is associated with corneal ulcers, scarring, and loss of vision. Ocular therapeutics that have regenerative healing properties, restore corneal biomechanical integrity and can be readily applied in the field will greatly enhance therapeutic outcome. FirstString Research has developed an ophthalmic eye-drop formulation containing the short regulatory peptide (ACT1) that possesses anti-inflammatory properties and enhances corneal regeneration via the stabilization of gap and tight junctions by modulating junctional protein interactions. The proposed Phase I SBIR will test the hypothesis that an ophthalmic ACT1 peptide formulation can accelerate corneal reepithelialization and restore corneal biomechanics, thus improving visual outcome. Using pre-clinical corneal injury models of blast and burn, our goal is to evaluate the therapeutic potential of an ACT1 ophthalmic formulation with respect to corneal and lentricular pharmacokinetics, corneal regeneration, corneal scarring, and corneal biomechanics. Successful completion of this study will demonstrate feasibility and will allow us to perform comprehensive translational technology development in a future Phase II effort.