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High-retention, lubricating eye drops to enhance quality of life in EB patients (Grover GR000009)

Project lead Prof Liam Grover
Organisation University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Partner organizations & collaborators Co-Researchers: Dr Richard Moakes, Prof Anthony Metcalfe, Prof Adrian Heagerty, Ms Saaeha Rauz, Mr Amit Patel
Collaborator: Dr Holly Chinnery, University of Melbourne, Australia
Project budget GBP 144,569.00
Start date / Duration 01. May 2023 / 24 months
Funder(s) / Co-Funder(s) DEBRA UK, DEBRA Ireland
Research area Symptom prevention & relief

Project details

Short lay summary

This project will repurpose an eye-drop technology that is currently in the very late stages of development and make it ready for large-scale deployment to EB patients with ocular surface damage. This project will lever >£4m of research council investment (MRC and NIHR) that has enabled us to scale-up, manufacture, and collect toxicological data on the drop, to enable first-in-human trials. By the time the project starts, we will have completed first-in-human safety trials with healthy volunteers and will be moving towards treating patients with severe dry eye (NIHR) and microbial keratitis (MRC). For this reason, we feel that the work could have a major impact for patients within a period of two years.

Scientific summary

To achieve this, the overarching aims of this project will be to:

  1. With clinicians and patient groups, understand the requirements (in terms of disease) and needs of the final product, to provide a usable life-enhancing therapy.
  2. Understand the underpinning science behind lubrication and rubbing between tissues within the ocular cavity to prevent blistering.
  3. Characterise and compare the fluid gel eye drops to current treatment options in terms of both lubricity and retention.
  4. Undertake the necessary steps to reclassify the eye drop from a medical product to medical device

Learn more on DEBRA UK's website.

Strategic relevance

The drops that are currently used tend to stay on the eye for short periods of time, meaning that they must be used over and over again throughout a day. In this project, we are trying to solve this problem by introducing a new eye drop that has been shown to stay on the surface of the eye for a much longer time. This will mean that patients need to apply their drops much less frequently. In the longer-term, these eye drop could be filled with molecules that can prevent scarring from occurring. We hope that this will provide patients with more freedom and a greater quality of life.

Prof Liam Grover


University of Birmingham
eye drops
quality of life
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