PulseSight launches with gene therapy platform targeting age-related blindness

Ophthalmology biotech PulseSight Therapeutics has emerged from stealth with a non-viral gene therapy delivery platform and late-stage preclinical candidates targeting wet and dry age-related macular diseases (AMD), including geographic atrophy (GA). AMD, a prevalent condition among the elderly leading to irreversible blindness, progresses from intermediate stages to either “wet” or “dry” stages, potentially evolving into GA.

PulseSight is developing non-viral gene therapies targeting AMD via a “minimally-invasive” delivery technology. The company’s “electro-transfection” technology, validated in a Phase I/II clinical study, delivers therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle.

PulseSight’s lead program, PST-809, for wet AMD, combines a dual-gene plasmid encoding a potent anti-VEGF, aflibercept, and decorin, an anti-angiogenic protein. The company says its preclinical studies show promising efficacy, indicating the potential for disease regression and lasting prevention of vision loss with reduced treatment frequency.

A second program, PST-611, targets GA in late-stage dry AMD, utilizing the same delivery technology with a plasmid encoding the human transferrin protein. PulseSight claims its approach, which only requires re-treatment every six months, has potential benefits in addressing complex pathophysiological pathways and opens avenues for treating other degenerative retinal disorders.

Having secured seed investment from Pureos Bioventures and ND Capital, and participation from Korea Investment Partners, PulseSight is currently raising a Series A financing round to advance its programs into clinical proof-of-concept. The company’s board includes chairman Dirk Sauer, former Head of Ophthalmology at Novartis, while Francine Behar-Cohen, the founder and inventor of the technology remains an advisor.

“Whilst pharma has embraced the potential of gene therapy in ophthalmology, there remains an unaddressed need for non-viral approaches that would unlock the full potential of gene therapies,” said Sauer. “I am encouraged by the data behind PulseSight’s approach and its therapies, and I look forward to working with the board and the team to validate its disruptive potential through clinical studies.”