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GAINESVILLE, Fla., and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (Nasdaq: AGTC), a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for the treatment of rare and debilitating diseases with an initial focus on inherited retinal diseases, today announced the formation of a scientific advisory board (SAB) comprised of leading experts in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The SAB will provide guidance on AGTC’s development of Complement Factor H (CFH), intended for the treatment of dry AMD, and the company’s plans to advance it through preclinical testing and into clinical development.
The inaugural members of the SAB are:
David S. Boyer, MD
Adjunct Clinical Professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
David M. Brown, MD, FACS
Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology,
Jeffrey S. Heier, MD
Director, Vitreo-Retinal Service, Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston, Boston, MA
Nancy M. Holekamp, MD
Director, Retinal Services, Pepose Vision Institute
Peter K. Kaiser, MD
Professor of Ophthalmology, Chaney Family Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology Research, Cleveland Clinic College of Medicine
Arshad M. Khanani, MD, MA
Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Surgery
David R. Lally, MD, FASRS
Director, Retina Research Institute
Charles C. Wykoff, MD, PhD
Retina Consultants of Texas
“We are thrilled to have assembled such a fantastic Scientific Advisory Board to help us plan for the clinical development of our CFH program targeting dry AMD,” said Sue Washer, President and CEO of AGTC. “These individuals have made significant contributions to the ophthalmology community, and together will bring a wealth of knowledge and guidance to us as we advance the program toward clinical development. We look forward to their contributions in support of our effort to develop a treatment for dry AMD.”
Jeff Heier, a newly appointed member of the SAB, added, “I feel privileged to be a part of this distinguished group of clinicians during this exciting time at AGTC. I look forward to engaging with my colleagues and leveraging our collective experience to help the Company advance its gene therapy program for the treatment of dry AMD.”
About Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
AMD is a progressive retinal disease affecting millions of older adults, and the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the western world. Symptoms, which include blurry vision, loss of night vision and loss of central vision, make activities of daily living such as reading, driving and even recognizing faces progressively more difficult. Third-party reports indicate there are approximately 16 million patients with AMD in the United States alone. Dry AMD, which results from an interaction of environmental and genetic risk factors, represents about 90% of that population (or about 15 million) in the US compared to about 1.4 million with wet AMD. The genetic risk of developing dry AMD is significant, with approximately 70% attributable risk of advanced disease to heritability, while aging and smoking confer the strongest non-genetic risk. CFH risk variants occur in approximately 40% of patients with dry AMD and these patients have a significantly increased risk of developing the disease as well as progression from intermediate AMD to geographic atrophy. The complement system, of which CFH is a regulator, is dysregulated in patients with these risk variants, and results in amplification of aberrant inflammatory responses in the eye. Over time, this dysregulation leads to damage to the macular region of the retina.
AGTC is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing genetic therapies for people with rare and debilitating ophthalmic, otologic and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. AGTC is a leader in designing and constructing all critical gene therapy elements and bringing them together to develop customized therapies with the potential to address unmet patient needs. AGTC’s most advanced clinical programs leverage its best-in-class technology platform to potentially improve vision for patients with inherited retinal diseases. AGTC has active clinical trials in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) and achromatopsia (ACHM CNGB3). Its preclinical programs build on the company’s industry leading AAV manufacturing technology and scientific expertise. AGTC is advancing multiple important pipeline candidates to address substantial unmet clinical needs in optogenetics, otology and CNS disorders, and has entered strategic collaborations with companies including Bionic Sight, an innovator in the emerging field of optogenetics, and retinal coding and Otonomy, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative therapeutics for neurotology. For more information, please visit https://agtc.com/.
This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect AGTC's plans, estimates, assumptions and beliefs, including statements about the potential of the company’s gene therapy platform and its plans for the pre-clinical and clinical development of CFH as a potential treatment for dry AMD. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts and can be identified by terms such as "anticipates," "believes," "could," "seeks," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "may," "plans," "potential," "predicts," "projects," "should," "will," "would" or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements, due to a number of important factors. Risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially include, among others: gene therapy is still novel with only a few approved treatments so far; AGTC cannot predict when or if it will obtain regulatory approval to commercialize a product candidate or receive reasonable reimbursement; uncertainty inherent in pre-clinical development, clinical trials and the regulatory review process; risks and uncertainties associated with drug development and commercialization; risks and uncertainties related to funding sources for the Company’s development programs; the direct and indirect impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations, and financial condition; factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements are set forth under the heading "Risk Factors" in the company’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K, as it may be supplemented by subsequent periodic reports filed with the SEC. Given these uncertainties, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Also, forward-looking statements represent management's plans, estimates, assumptions and beliefs only as of the date of this release. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.
Spectrum Science Communications
Chief Financial Officer
Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation
T: (617) 843-5778