ONL is the first and only company focused on preventing the death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors – the root cause of vision loss and leading cause of blindness. To date, there are no therapeutic approaches designed specifically to prevent the death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors.
Photoreceptors are crucial for vision as they are responsible for detecting light and transmitting that signal to the brain. They are some of the most metabolically active cells in the human body and thus require a constant supply of fuel to maintain their health and function. This fuel supply is provided through a direct interface with the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a pigmented cell layer that nourishes the retinal cells. However, a wide range of retinal diseases and conditions cause the disruption of that vital interface. These include retinal detachment, wet AMD and dry AMD.
As a result of this disruption, key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, lose access to their fuel supply and ultimately die through a process of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Preventing this death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, represents a promising scientific approach to preserving vision in patients with a range of retinal diseases and conditions.
The ability to block the activation of the Fas pathway following the interruption of the photoreceptor/RPE interface represents the most direct and upstream approach to preventing death of key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, and preserving patients’ vision.