Exonate announces the formation of ophthalmology Clinical Advisory Board


Ophthalmology leaders to support early stage biotechnology company with potential to revolutionise current standard-of-care in the treatment of eye diseases

Cambridge, UK – 8 November: Exonate, an early stage biotechnology company, today announces the formation of its Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) to support the scientific, pre-clinical development of a revolutionary eye-drop treatment for retinal vascular diseases, including wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (wAMD) and Diabetic Macular Oedema (DME).”

The formation of the CAB is a pivotal milestone in Exonate’s development as it builds its ophthalmology pipeline. The CAB is made up of the international leaders in the ophthalmology field. With over 100 years of combined experience in the industry, they bring a deep level of understanding and insight into wAMD that will help drive the clinical development of Exonate’s novel eye drop treatment.

Dr Catherine Beech, CEO of Exonate, commented: “We are delighted to announce the formation of our Clinical Advisory Board. Eye-drops are considered the Holy Grail for the treatment of diseases such as wet wAMD, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. I look forward to working with this outstanding group of scientists’ and to benefit from the expertise they will bring as we investigate the potential for our eye-drops to revolutionise treatment for this devastating disease.”

Exonates’s CEO, Dr Catherine Beech and Professor David Bates, CSO, will host their CAB in New Orleans  during the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), 11-14 November 2017. The Company will be available for meetings during this time. To register your interest, please contact louise.shave@exonate.com.


The Members of Exonate’s Clinical Advisory Board are:

Professor Pete Adamson
Head of Ophthalmology Research and Development at ProQR Therapeutics an oligonucleotide company specialising in the treatment of rare inherited ophthalmic disease. Formerly Vice President and Head of Research at Ophthiris (GlaxoSmithKline Ophthalmology). Responsible for the scientific aspects of a number of high profile external alliances and the development of a number of internal assets which are currently undergoing clinical assessment. Pete has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications in the domains of inflammation, ophthalmology and neurology. Pete retains an honorary appointment at UCL, Institute of Ophthalmology where he is Professor of Molecular Pathology.

Professor Lloyd Paul Aiello
Lloyd Paul Aiello is Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, Vice Chair for Centres of Excellence and Associate Chief of Longwood Ophthalmology at Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, Director of the Beetham Eye Institute and Head of Eye Research at the Joslin Diabetes Centre (JDC), and Founding Chair of the National Eye Institute Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research Network. A third-generation ophthalmologist, Professor Aiello is committed to eliminating visual loss resulting from diabetic retinopathy and associated conditions. His research addresses biochemical and molecular mechanisms underlying early diabetic retinopathy, development of novel interventions, therapeutic research through design and implementation of rigorous translational phase 1-3 clinical trials, advanced ocular imaging, and worldwide telemedicine efforts as related to diabetic retinopathy. He is the recipient of 45 national and international awards for his research.

Professor Peter Campochiaro
Professor Campochiaro was trained at the University of Notre Dame, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Virginia. Professor Campochiaro joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in 1991 and currently serves there as the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Professor of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience. His major research interests are in gaining a greater understanding of the roles of peptide growth and trophic factors in the retina and retinal pigmented-epithelium with an ultimate goal of developing new treatments for proliferative retinopathies, choroidal neovascularization, and retinal degenerations. A highly respected clinical researcher with a particular expertise in ocular neovascularisation and vascular leakage, his laboratory research group helped to demonstrate the importance of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway in retinal and choroidal vascular diseases. As a clinician, he has had significant experience in many of the clinical studies evaluating anti-VEGF-A therapies.

Professor Usha Chakravarthy
Usha Chakravarthy is recognised internationally for research into the molecular mechanisms of AMD and Diabetic retinopathy her current work has focused on improved phenotyping of AMD and DR and understanding the therapeutic responses to drugs in interventional clinical trials. She has served on editorial boards of many journals including IOVS, Eye, Ophthalmic Epidemiology and international and national award bodies. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2016 in recognition of her research and her clinical activities within the NHS and the academic role within the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Professor Robyn Guymer
Robyn Guymer is Professor of Ophthalmology at Melbourne University and deputy director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia. She is also a senior retinal specialist at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. She is a clinician scientist who leads a team of 20 researchers primarily investigating AMD. She has investigated genetic and environmental risk factors for AMD, predictors of response to treatments for late AMD, as well as being a principal investigator in many industry sponsored trials. She is on several pharmaceutical advisory boards and is part of the Mactel consortium, the Beckman/Ryan AMD initiative (USA) and the International classification of Atrophy group. She was part of the scientific leadership group of Bionic Vision Australia. She is working to identify novel imaging and functional biomarkers and surrogate endpoints to improve the feasibility of conducting early intervention trials. She is a member of the Macular society and an inaugural fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. Professor Guymer was awarded the NHMRC’s 2016 Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship for the top ranked female research fellowship in clinical medicine.



Exonate Limited
Louise Shave, Marketing
Catherine Beech, CEO
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 437042
Email: louise.shave@exonate.com

FTI Consulting
Mo Noonan / Anna Foster
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000


About Exonate:
Exonate is a privately held, early stage, biotech company spun out of the University of Nottingham that is focused on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in areas of unmet need, such as ophthalmology, pain,nephropathy and cancer. Exonate’s lead programme is focused on wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration, known as wet AMD, which is the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and older. The Company is founded on scientific excellence with strong links to Professor David Bates and his lab at Nottingham University specialising in the biology and biochemical pathways of VEGF splice variants.

Exonate have developed small molecules that inhibit production of pro-angiogenic VEGF through selective inhibition of serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (SRPK1)-mediated VEGF splicing. These inhibitors have already demonstrated superior efficacy as topical agents in preclinical models of wet AMD. Through a Wellcome Trust funded project, Exonate will complete an optimisation programme to nominate a pre-clinical candidate drug with optimal characteristics ahead of regulatory toxicology and safety pharmacology studies which will support an application to the regulatory authorities for clinical evaluation. Exonate expects to reach this milestone and enter the clinic in early 2020.

Exonate is led by an experienced, international management team that has previously worked together with cross-disciplinary experience in medicine and drug development, as well as successful fundraising for early stage companies. CEO Catherine Beech, OBE, has over 25 years’ experience in the biotech/pharma industry including 12 years in big pharma leading development programmes in Cardiovascular, Parkinson’s disease and HIV. Exonate is her fourth role as CEO of an emerging biotech company and she also has extensive experience as a non-executive board director.


About wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wAMD):
Today, wAMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 years or older and affects more than 30 million patients worldwide, over 200,000 of those in the UK alone. If untreated patients are likely to lose sight in the  affected eye within 24 months of disease onset. The current standard-of-care treatment options for wAMD are:

  • anti-VEGF antibody drugs – to prevent the growth of new blood vessels in the eye. Unlike small molecule drugs or eye drops, these treatments must be injected into the eye once every 1-2 months. Resistance can develop to these drugs causing the disease to progress anew.
  • laser surgery – to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye. This type of surgery is only suitable if blood vessel damage is not too extensive and if the abnormal blood vessels aren’t close to the fovea, as performing surgery close to this part of the eye can cause permanent vision loss.


About Uniseed:
Uniseed is a venture fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney, as well as the CSIRO. Uniseed’s mandate is to facilitate the commercialisation of research partner generated intellectual property by targeted investment in highly promising technologies. Uniseed’s investments cover a range of technology sectors. For more information, go to www.uniseed.com