Sylentis's most advanced developments are focused on ophtalmology. Sylentis is developing treatments for glaucoma and for dry eye syndrome, two pathologies which are very common for today’s society and whose incidence is expected to increase in the coming years due to population aging and today’s way of life. Click the list for further information:
Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders characterized by damage to the optic nerve that leads to a progressive loss of peripheral vision that can culminate in blindness. According to WHO surveys this disabling condition accounts for approximately 2% of visual impairment cases and is the third cause of blindness worldwide (8% of cases). In 2010, OAG accounted for approximately 80% of worldwide glaucoma cases and affected to 44.7 million people of whom 4.5 million will become bilaterally blind.
Allergic diseases are characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance called "allergen". This overreaction occurs when the allergen is ingested, inhaled, injected or is in contact with skin.
About 30% of the population worldwide shows allergic symptoms and approximately 40 - 80% of them suffer from eye symptoms. Allergic diseases that affect the eyes, also called ocular allergies, are a heterogeneous group of diseases that present a wide spectrum of symptoms: redness, itching, burning, pain and even intolerance to light (photophobia). Ocular allergies can manifest both independently and in conjunction with other allergy symptoms such as rhinitis and asthma.
Ocular allergies can be classified into two major categories according to their manifestations. Mild forms such as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and perennial allergic conjunctivitis belong to the first group. These forms are usually transient and their symptoms appear acutely without affecting the corneal integrity. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis, atopic keratoconjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis are serious forms of ocular allergies. These forms are usually persistent, chronic and can affect the cornea and, therefore produce lesions affect vision permanently.
Eye allergies usually occur when the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the eye and lines the eyelid) reacts to an allergen such as pollen, animal hair and dust. The eye, including the conjunctiva, has a high number of mast cells, cells that play a central role in allergy. Mast cells are activated in the presence of allergens and release what is known as mediators of allergy, in a process called degranulation. Allergic mediators activate a lot of responsibility for the typical signs and symptoms of ocular allergy cellular mechanisms. Initially there is what is known as acute phase response or first phase of ocular allergies can progress to a late phase response characterized by the recruitment of inflammatory cells to the site of allergic inflammation and produce a chronic and persistent reaction.
Ocular allergies are one of the most common diseases seen by allergists and ophthalmologists in their consultations. Most of the drugs available for the treatment of ocular allergy are centered in alleviating symptoms in a timely manner.
Ocular pain refers to any discomfort in the area of the eye and may affect to one or both eyes. It is both a widespread disorder and a symptom with a proved negative impact on patient’s quality of life. Due to current life-style, the number of people affected by ocular pathologies related to altered ocular sensitivity is very high, and it is expected to increase with aging of population.
Sylentis is centred on inflammatory bowel disease as main disease within this project. More specifically, in Crohn’s disease, a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract which can occur in all its length, from the mouth to the anus, but which is more frequent in the inferior portion of the small intestine.
Central Nervous System
Sylentis has developed a method of siRNA administration to the central nervous system based on intranasal administration. This system is especially advantageous as it avoids systemic administration, which is especially complicated due to the high speed at which siRNAs are degraded in blood (in a question of minutes), and it also avoids the issue of targeting the compounds to the central nervous system and overcoming the blood-brain barrier.
Given the speed with which siRNA is degraded when in contact with RNases present in biological fluids, one of Sylentis projects’ is the development of formulations which will increase the stability of our products and enable access to different target tissues within the body.