Technology ID

Gene Therapy for Treatment of CRX-Autosomal Dominant Retinopathies

Lead Inventor
Swaroop, Anand (NEI)
Kruczek, Kamil (NEI)
Hiriyanna, Suja (NEI)
Wu, Zhijian (NEI)
Development Stages
Lead IC

Mutations in the cone rod homeobox (CRX) transcription factor lead to distinct retinopathy phenotypes, including early-onset vision impairment in dominant Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Adeno-Associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated delivery of a CRX cDNA under the control of a CRX promoter region partially restored photoreceptor phenotype and expression of phototransduction genes in an in vitro model of CRX-LCA. Gene therapy using the CRX-AAV vector to retinal organoids derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) of a patient with the dominant CRX-I138fs mutation partially restored expression of visual opsins and other phototransduction genes as revealed by immunohistochemistry and single cell RNA-sequencing. Retinal organoids from iPSCs of a second dominant CRX-LCA patient carrying a K88N mutation also revealed loss of expression of opsins and phototransduction genes as a common phenotype, which could be alleviated by AAV-mediated overexpression of CRX. 

Competitive Advantages:

  • Promising commercial potential given that there are no current treatments for CRX-retinopathies 
  • Gene therapy by delivering CRX should restore photoreceptor structure and function
  • Existing commercial interest and an established regulatory path for directly administered gene therapy targeting an ophthalmic disease caused by mutations in a specific gene: In 2017, Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) was FDA approved for an inherited form of vision loss (confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy) that may result in blindness

Commercial Applications:

  • Early onset blindness, including Leber congenital amaurosis
  • Gene therapy of CRX retinopathies; i.e., patients with a mutation in the CRX gene
Licensing Contact:
Alsaffar, Hiba