Uveitis is a set of conditions defined by intraocular inflammation and is believed to be the cause of up to 10% of legal blindness in the United States, or approximately 30,000 new cases of blindness per year. Anterior uveitis is an intraocular inflammation of the uveal structures. The uvea is situated anterior to the middle of the vitreous cavity. It is also termed as “red-eye” along with other eye complications such as conjunctivitis, keratitis, and acute glaucoma. This disease is found to be associated with ocular injury as well as many systemic diseases, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter’s syndrome, sarcoidosis, herpes zoster, and syphilis. Anterior uveitis can also lead to some common vision-threatening complications such as cataract, glaucoma, and macular edema.
The mainstay of therapy for anterior uveitis is eye drops. These usually include a topical corticosteroid drop such as prednisolone acetate and often a dilating drop such as cyclopentolate. Durezol (Alcon Pharmaceuticals/ Sirion Therapeutics) is a corticosteroid ophthalmic emulsion, indicated for the postoperative ocular inflammation and pain, and in the treatment of endogenous anterior uveitis. The US FDA approved the product in June 2008, following a 6 month priority review. EGP-437 is an emerging therapy under phase III development by EyeGate Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of non infectious anterior uveitis. In May 2015, EyeGate Pharmaceuticals received positive guidance from FDA on NDA filing requirements of EGP-437 for the treatment of anterior uveitis.
As per various studies and analyses, the total market size for anterior uveitis is expected to increase in United States in coming years. A decrease in total market size for anterior uveitis in few of the major markets other than United States can also be expected in future. There is an unmet need for treatment that can restore normal ocular conditions with permanently control inflammation and prevent a decrease in vision. The adverse effects associated with the use of emerging as well as existing drugs are still a challenge for researchers.