Shares in ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) were up 18% after it said the first group of patients receiving cell therapy for a blindness-causing disease have seen “sustained and further improvement” to their sight.
This was the top-line from the latest data assimilated from a Phase IIa study of its human retinal progenitor cell (hRPC) treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.
It assessed the first three people to be administered the new medication and looked at their progress at the 60- and 120-days stage.
The update follows encouraging eye sight results earlier in the process. Followers of the company will be heartened by the news that improvements were sustained and enhanced over the longer period, even if this first study group is an incredibly small one.
Michael Hunt, the company's chief financial officer, echoed those sentiments, before adding: "We need to treat more patients and look to the longer-term duration of this effect we are seeing now."
Rapid and remarkable
Dr Pravin Dugel, of Retinal Consultants of Arizona and one of the study investigators, called the sight enhancement both rapid and remarkable.
“It is especially gratifying to feel the excitement and joy in my patients where this objective and subjective improvement in their vision has been a source of hope following years of slow but steady progression towards blindness," he added.
These latest results are being presented later today at a conference in Vancouver, Canada, by Dr Jason Comander, who is the Associate Director of the Inherited Retinal Disorders Service at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. He is also an assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School.
Treatment has already begun in the next group of patients, who have a greater baseline level of sight loss than those assessed so far.
Up to 12 patients to be treated
The current protocol allows the company to dose up to 12 patients and CFO Hunt said it likely a dozen people will be treated in the phase II part of the trial.
Results from the second cohort of three patients are likely to be released later this year, most probably at a scientific conference, he added.
ReNeuron, following the last batch of data, is certainly starting to register on the radar screens of potential industry partners and investors, Hunt confirmed.
“That’s very gratifying,” he told Proactive's Andrew Scott. “It is worth noting that ophthalmology generally, or back of the eye retinal degeneration, is a hot area for advanced therapies at the moment, including both cell and gene therapies.”
The shares were changing hands for 310.12p, up 48.12p, valuing the business at just shy of £100mln.
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