Dry eye is one of the most frequently diagnosed ocular diseases affecting more than 5 million people in the United States alone. Dry eye is s a multi-factorial disease, resulting from a common etiology of insufficient tear film causing ocular surface damage and symptoms of ocular discomfort. The few current therapies available, which include immunosuppressive agents and over-the-counter tear replacements, are not sufficiently efficacious for many users or only provide transient relief from dry eye symptoms. Therefore, the development of novel agents to treat dry eye would be of tremendous benefit to the therapeutic milieu. The volume of tear film on the ocular surface represents a balance between tear fluid output versus fluid loss via drainage, evaporation, or epithelial absorption. Similar to other epithelial tissues, the epithelium of the conjunctiva and cornea are capable of regulating the hydration status of the mucosal surface through active salt and water transport. The epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is a key regulator of sodium (and water) absorption in numerous tissues including the eye. The inhibition of ENaC in the eye is predicted to preserve lacrimal secretions and maintain hydration on the ocular surface. Parion Sciences has developed a novel series of compounds that specifically and potently inhibit ENaC, which are predicted to be good candidate molecules for clinical development for the treatment of dry eye. In a series of pre-clinical studies, Parion has selected a lead compound (P-301) for development as a new therapeutic agent for dry eye. In dry eye animal models, P-301 significantly increases tear output with a long (>4 hour duration of action) and treats the corneal surface damage associated with dry eye. In preliminary non-clinical safety studies, P-301 has been well tolerated at high concentrations. Additionally, P- 301 is an ideal candidate for ophthalmic formulations as it is highly soluble and stable in solution. Parion is continuing the development of P-301 in IND-enabling studies towards clinical testing in man.

Public Health Relevance

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or chronic dry eye disease (DED) is one of the most frequently diagnosed ocular diseases, resulting in painful irritation, inflammation on the ocular surface, and impaired vision. KCS/DED results from inadequate aqueous tear fluid on the eyes. Parion Sciences is developing a novel therapeutic agent that is predicted to provide long acting relief from dry eye symptoms.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ETTN-E (12))
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Wujek, Jerome R
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Parion Sciences, Inc.
United States
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