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New drug to treat dry Macular Degeneration on FDA's Fast Track

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given Acucela and Otsuka the Fast Track designation for their new oral medication intended to treat dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Fast Track program is made to speed up the process in developing and approving new drugs that are being created to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and show promise in meeting currently unmet medical needs. Currently, there are no approved therapies to treat dry AMD and about 90 percent of AMD patients suffer from the dry form of the disease. The two companies involved in the clinical studies are Acucela, Inc which is a clinical-stage biotechnology company and Otsuka which is a pharmaceutical company. The new drug, ACU-4429, works by slowing the eye's visual cycle for processing light. This decreases the levels of toxic by-products in the eye resulting in potentially halting the advancement of dry AMD. The drug is now beginning Phase 2 clinical trials. * Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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