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Dry Eye Disease Impacts 49 Million Americans And Disproportionately Affects Women, But Current Treatments Aren't Fully Effective – OKYO Pharma's Drug Candidate Could Be The Solution

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By David Willey, Benzinga

An eye condition that has been described as a common disease currently affects as many as 49 million Americans. Dry Eye Disease (DED) afflicts over 15% of Americans over 50 and disproportionately affects women and DED patients are not well served by currently approved drugs. It’s concerning facts like these that inspired the biopharmaceutical company OKYO Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: OKYO) to develop a drug that can help the millions suffering from DED.

DED, a condition often associated with aging, is caused when a tear film dysfunction means tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes. Symptoms include a scratchy sensation in the eyes, light sensitivity, blurry vision, and eyesight fatigue. DED can also cause ocular pain from damage to the surface of the eye, and the market surrounding DED treatment is currently worth over $5 billion.

DED incidence in the US has been increasing, and there are also extrinsic factors that could be behind the increasing rate of DED in America. As the population ages, the number of people most at risk for DED increases, and lifestyle choices like contact lenses and heavy blue light exposure contribute to dry eyes and eventual ocular damage.

DED is a chronic condition, meaning treatments need to be suitable for long-term use, but the drugs currently available on the market don’t appear to be filling this need. Some like Eysuvis have seen success but are strictly a short-term treatment, while others, including Restasis, Xiidra, and Cequa, have discomforting side effects which lead large numbers of patients to not refill their prescriptions.

Now, OKYO Pharma is looking to bring real solutions to people suffering from DED through the novel drug it is currently developing, OK-101, which is administered topically as eye drops. The drug’s anti-inflammatory activity treats DED while pain-reducing activity alleviates DED-associated ocular pain.

Solving Inflammation And Ocular Pain

OKYO Pharma is a London-based drug development company that is looking to bring a new drug to the market. Though drug development is a notoriously slow process, OKYO’s novel OK-101 treatment is seeing rapid development that may get it to market in record time.

The team is led by Dr. Gary Jacob, CEO of OKYO Pharma and director of the drug’s development. Dr. Jacob is a drug development veteran with a proven record, as he has already developed and brought to market two Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs. Also on the team is Dr. Raj Patil, Chief Scientific Officer who has expertise and years of experience in ophthalmology drug development.

Focus is often what separates success from failure in the biotech space, with companies failing when they try to cast their net too wide. On the other hand, OKYO Pharma is laser-focused on the development of its drug OK-101 for DED treatment, and it will be collecting data from its clinical trials that are starting soon. In fact, OKYO received FDA approval to skip its phase one trial and jump straight to its phase two efficacy trials, with the possibility of an accelerated regulatory submission.

Pre-clinical animal data indicate that OK-101 reduces both inflammation of the eye and the corneal neuropathic pain which results from nerve damage to the eye caused by DED. There currently isn’t a topical treatment for ocular pain approved by the FDA, which is another reason OKYO Pharma is excited to move ahead with the trials for OK-101.

Similar companies in the market include Aldeyra Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALDX) and Tarsus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TARS), both of which have a market cap of around $400 million.

Want to learn more about what OKYO Pharma is doing to tackle DED and other eye diseases? Visit its website.

This article was originally published on Benzinga here.

OKYO Pharma Limited (LSE: OKYO; NASDAQ: OKYO) is a life sciences company admitted to listing on NASDAQ and on the standard segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and to trading on the main market for listed securities of London Stock Exchange plc. OKYO is focusing on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain.

Certain statements made in this announcement are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but rather are based on the Company’s current expectations, estimates, and projections about its industry; its beliefs; and assumptions. Words such as ‘anticipates,’ ‘expects,’ ‘intends,’ ‘plans,’ ‘believes,’ ‘seeks,’ ‘estimates,’ and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, some of which are beyond the Company’s control, are difficult to predict, and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements. The Company cautions security holders and prospective security holders not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the view of the Company only as of the date of this announcement. The forward-looking statements made in this announcement relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. The Company will not undertake any obligation to release publicly any revisions or updates to these forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances, or unanticipated events occurring after the date of this announcement except as required by law or by any appropriate regulatory authority.

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