Aerie's mission is to discover and develop novel, first-in-class medications that help patients with glaucoma preserve their sight. Aerie's products have been developed to be highly effective, safe, and compatible with other glaucoma drugs, while offering the convenience of once-daily dosing. Patients need new and better choices to treat their glaucoma, and Aerie plans on delivering just that. Aerie is a privately held clinical stage pharmaceutical company with three innovative products in late Phase 2 development, the first two of which could reach the market as early as 2016. All of Aerie's intellectual property is fully owned. Aerie's offices are located in Bedminster, NJ and Research Triangle Park, NC.
Glaucoma is the world's second leading cause of blindness. It is characterized by high fluid pressure within the eye (known as intraocular pressure) that over time damages the optic nerve. High intraocular pressure can be managed by medicines that reduce the amount of fluid being produced inside the eye (inflow), or increase drainage of the fluid from the eye (outflow). Glaucoma drugs represent a significant market in the United States and Europe, with sales exceeding $4 billion in 2011 according to IMS.
All of our product candidates are once-daily dosed eye drops that specifically target the trabecular meshwork, or TM, which is the eye's primary drain. The TM is generally considered to be the diseased tissue responsible for elevated IOP in glaucoma patients. Currently approved eye drops reduce IOP by increasing fluid outflow through the eye's secondary drain or reducing fluid production. We believe that our product candidates will provide improved treatment options to ophthalmologists and glaucoma patients by directly targeting the TM and improving patient compliance through once-daily dosing.
Our product candidates target the TM through a novel mechanism of action, the inhibition of Rho Kinase, an enzyme that controls the contraction of TM cells. Published studies have demonstrated that selective Rho Kinase inhibition leads to increased fluid outflow through the eye's primary drain by changing and relaxing TM cells, thereby lowering IOP. Our two most advanced product candidates are AR-12286, a highly selective Rho Kinase inhibitor, and PG286, a fixed dose combination of AR-12286 combined with a prostaglandin analogue, or PGA, which represents the most commonly prescribed class of glaucoma drugs. Our third clinical stage product candidate is AR-13324, a dual action inhibitor of both Rho Kinase and the Norepinephrine Transporter, or NET, which is a protein involved with the regulation of production of eye fluid.
Clinicians currently have significant unmet needs with respect to the product choices currently available for treating patients with glaucoma. Many of these products require the dosing of eye drops multiple times a day, and have less than optimal efficacy, tolerability and side effect profiles. This is of particular importance since approximately half of all patients require more than one drug to treat their glaucoma. We believe that Aerie's next generation glaucoma drugs will provide the breakthrough treatment choices that clinicians and their patients have been awaiting for nearly two decades. At Aerie, we are working hard to bring our innovative glaucoma drugs to the market to help alleviate the burden of this sight-threatening disease on the lives of patients.