A new drug company called BNS Ophthalmics (BNSO) – formed through a partnership of Israeli nanotechnology drug discovery and development company BioNanoSim and Greek pharmaceutical company Rafarm — will leverage nanotechnology to develop novel treatments for serious eye conditions.
Cofounded by Prof. Simon Benita and Yissum, the tech-transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, BNS’s first product under development is BNSO-1.
This nano formulation will allow the potent anti-inflammatory drug Tacrolimus – an unstable, water-insoluble drug that cannot permeate the cornea – to be applied in the eyes for treating a wide range of eye conditions.
BNSO is to initiate a phase I/IIA clinical study of BNSO-1 later this year in chronic anterior uveitis patients. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted orphan drug designation for this indication. If clinical results are positive, the company could be approved for an accelerated regulatory approval track.
BNSO has two additional preclinical treatments in its pipeline, both invented by Benita and developed by BNS.
The first is an innovative delivery technology enabling a prolonged-release intravitreal injection of a steroid derivative drug (without impacting intra-ocular pressure) for macular edema and age-related macular degeneration. The other is a novel topical drug for dry eye disease.
BNS will contribute its intellectual property and R&D expertise to BNSO. Rafarm will provide funding and infrastructure for development, commercial-scale manufacturing and distribution.
“At BNS, we synthesize new chemical entities and develop innovative delivery approaches to address some of healthcare’s greatest challenges. BNSO will use our proprietary carrier technologies to improve the delivery, stability and bioactivity of drugs in multiple ocular segments,” said Benita.
“Our collaboration with BNS, whom we recognize as a leader in the field of nanotechnology, marks a significant milestone of Rafarm in innovative technologies,” said VP Aris Mitsopoulos. “We are very proud of the establishment of BNS Ophthalmics, a company that enhances Rafarm’s capabilities in innovation and contributes to cover unmet therapeutic needs in ophthalmology.”