The Nicox expertise

We have focused our research efforts on ocular disorders in which NO is believed to play a role, including lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma or in retinal health.

NO is a well-known, small, naturally occurring signaling molecule known to stimulate an intracellular enzyme, soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC), which converts guanosine triphosphate to the second messenger, cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). NO/sGC signaling pathway plays a key role in the regulation of IOP homeostasis and ocular blood flow. The NO stimulated increase in cGMP in the trabecular meshwork leads to the reduction of intracellular calcium, relaxation of the trabecular meshwork and, consequently, an increase in the outflow of the aqueous humor from the anterior segment of the eye through the primary or conventional outflow pathway. All of the foregoing events are thought to lead to lowering of IOP and enhance ocular perfusion. The effect of NO on IOP may be further increased and/or prolonged by phosphodiasterase type-5 (PDE5) inhibitors, which inhibit the degradation of cGMP.

We are applying key learnings from our research activities to NO-donating moieties attached to other non-PGA therapeutic classes of compounds with the goal of enhancing the NO-mediated effects. This novel class of molecules has the potential for development in retinal conditions and a candidate in this series is under preclinical development for retinopathies and other back-of-eye diseases.