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New eye treatment technology wins Kaye Award for Hebrew University researcher

A method using positively charged emulsions for improving drug delivery to treat eye diseases has won for Prof. Shimon Benita of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy a Kaye Innovation Award.

The award was presented on June 6 during the 68TH Hebrew University Board of Governors meeting.

Novagali Pharma, a drug delivery and biotechnology startup company based in a Paris suburb, and Prof. Benita's research group have shown that their technology, based on positively charged emulsions, have a definite advantage over existing medications, including those emulsions that have no charge or with a negative charge.

The surface of the eye bears a negative charge; therefore, when the positively-charged emulsions -- containing an oily core in which the desired active drug compound is dissolved -- reach the eye surface, the medication is more speedily and effectively absorbed than in existing preparations. This promises great potential for Novagali in the development of future eye medications.

Founded in 2000 by Prof. Benita and the Hebrew University's Yissum Research Development Company, Novagali has succeeded since its founding in raising nearly 18 million euros from French venture capital firms.

Cationorm, one of the new products developed by Novagali, has completed phase 2 clinical trials for treatment of low and moderate degree dry eye syndrome, with another set of trials now having just begun in France for treatment of the more severe form.

Also under investigation is the use of this method of drug delivery for treatment of severe diseases of the posterior portions of the eye, especially the retina. The ability to deliver medications to this portion of the eye without injections could provide a significant breakthrough for Novagali.


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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-2-588-2904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
7-Jun-2005


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