STTR Phase I: Development High-throughput Screening System for Glaucoma Therapeutics Using a Bioengineered Human Eye Tissue

Period of Performance: 01/01/2015 - 12/31/2015

$225K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Glauconix Inc.
251 Fuller Road Array
Albany, NY 12203
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

SUNY Polytechnic Institute
100 Seymour Ave
Utica, NY
Institution POC

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) project will be the development of a testing system that will facilitate glaucoma drug development in a more cost-effective manner. This will enable better treatment of glaucoma and ultimately prevention of vision loss. This work will overcome a major limiting factor for glaucoma drug discovery, and provide scientists and doctors with a unique tool to understand the physiology of the human eye as related to glaucoma. Commercially, this project will allow for high-throughput testing of new glaucoma therapies, making this technology highly desirable to the pharmaceutical industry. Longer term, this technology has the potential to provide a healthy transplantable tissue that can cure glaucoma. This STTR Phase I project proposes to address the lack of effective in vitro model for testing targeted glaucoma therapies. This work will be the first-of-its-kind, exploring the feasibility to bioengineer a physiologically-relevant 3D human trabecular outflow tract utilizing co-culture and cell differentiation methods along with microfabrication techniques. It is based on the development of a custom-built system that will incorporate the bioengineered tissue into a platform that mimics the flow of aqueous humor and pressure changes in the human eye. At the conclusion of this project, it is anticipated that the bioengineered tissue will behave similarly to its in vivo counterpart, and be usable as higher throughput testing platform for drugs affecting the outflow physiology of the human trabecular outflow tract. In addition, this project will lead to a platform that could be used by other scientists to study and understand the biology of the human trabecular outflow tract.