Researchers Call For More Than 6,000 People To Donate A Saliva Sample To Help Them Better Understand One Of The World’s Leading Causes Of Blindness

Researchers across the UK are looking for people with late-stage, dry age-related macular degeneration to donate a saliva sample to help understand the role genetics may play in the disease

 Join the campaign to encourage dry AMD patients to be genetically tested.

LONDON – 1 October, 2020 – Gyroscope Therapeutics Limited, a clinical-stage retinal gene therapy company, is launching a campaign in the United Kingdom to encourage people diagnosed with late-stage dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to donate a saliva sample at one of our research centres in order to help scientists identify genetic factors that may play a role in their sight loss.

According to the UK charity the Macular Society, AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the United Kingdom, affecting more than 600,000 people.1 There are currently no approved treatments for dry AMD, the most common form of the disease. It is an irreversible, progressive and devastating condition that can make everyday activities like reading, driving and recognising faces difficult.

To aid in the understanding of the genetics of people with dry AMD and to help inform researchers in the development of new therapies, Gyroscope is collecting saliva samples from more than 6,000 people with dry AMD in a global study called SCOPE. Those who are found to be carrying specific genetic mutations associated with the condition, may further be invited to enrol into investigational gene therapy trials (pending compliance with trial eligibility criteria). Gyroscope is working with the London Vision Clinic and other research centres across the UK to help find eligible patients and collect donated saliva samples.

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon Mr Paulo E. Stanga, Retina Lead at the London Vision Clinic, and the London Principal Investigator and Study Surgeon, is helping lead the call for patients to participate. “I am working with Gyroscope to launch this campaign as performing large-scale genotyping is critical for us to understand the genetics of dry AMD. This research will also help guide us as we develop novel therapies for the future. We all know by now that restrictions due to COVID-19 will remain in place for some time. We take patient safety very seriously and are taking all necessary precautions. As the use of public transport is still a significant worry to some patients, free of charge door-to-door individual transport is available for patients participating in this study. We can only beat AMD working together and encourage people to continue to attend to their eye health.”

Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of national sight loss charity the Macular Society, said: “AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. It’s a devastating condition and can have a huge impact on the lives of those affected. Due to our ageing population the number of people living with the condition is expected to double by 2050. It is now an urgent public health issue. Despite this, not enough is known about what causes it. Dry AMD is the most common type of the disease and there are currently no approved treatments. We must do all we can to help develop medicines that can hopefully slow the progression of this sight-limiting disease and save as much of people’s vision as possible. If you know someone with dry AMD, please encourage them to provide a saliva sample and help with this vital research.”

It’s very easy to participate, anyone who has been diagnosed with geographic atrophy due to late stage, dry AMD can contact the team on 01438 532142 for more information. Testing involves providing one saliva sample and is free of charge. We also offer free of charge door-to-door individual transport to local research centres. Participants may also be contacted to consider their interest and eligibility in participating in future investigational gene therapy trials.

Participants are only eligible for this genetic test if they have been diagnosed with geographic atrophy due to late stage, dry AMD.

About Gyroscope: Vision for Life

Gyroscope Therapeutics is a clinical-stage retinal gene therapy company developing and delivering gene therapy beyond rare disease to treat a leading cause of blindness, dry AMD. Our lead investigational gene therapy, GT005, is a one-time therapy delivered under the retina. GT005 is designed to restore balance to an overactive complement system by increasing production of the Complement Factor I protein. GT005 is currently being evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical trial called FOCUS and a Phase II clinical trial called EXPLORE.

Syncona Ltd, our lead investor, helped us create the only retinal gene therapy company to combine discovery, research, drug development, a manufacturing platform and surgical delivery capabilities. Headquartered in London with locations in Philadelphia and San Francisco, our mission is to preserve sight and fight the devastating impact of blindness. For more information visit: www.gyroscopetx.com and follow us on Twitter (@GyroscopeTx) and on LinkedIn.