Non-viral ocular gene therapy, pEYS606, for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis: Preclinical evaluation of the medicinal product

J Control Release. 2018 Sep 10;285:244-251. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2018.07.013. Epub 2018 Aug 1.


Non-infectious uveitis (NIU) is the first cause of blindness that can be cured if optimal anti-inflammatory therapy can be achieved. Systemic anti-TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) agents have been recently approved for NIU but no local delivery of anti-TNF is available. For sustained production of secreted therapeutic proteins into the eye, non-viral gene therapy using plasmid electrotransfer in the ciliary muscle has been proposed. In this paper, we report the development steps of pEYS606, a clinical-grade plasmid DNA, devoid of antiobiotic selection gene, encoding a fusion protein consisting of the extracellular domain of the soluble p55 TNF-α receptor linked to the human IgG1 Fc domain (hTNFR-Is/hIgG1 or Protein 6), with high affinity for human TNF-α, for non-viral gene transfer into the ocular ciliary muscle. Electrotransfer of pEYS606 in the ciliary muscle significantly reduced ocular inflammation in two well-established rat models of uveitis, the endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) and the experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU). In addition, in EAU, a significant protection of photoreceptors was demonstrated after pEYS606 treatment. The improved pharmacokinetic profile of intraocularly-secreted protein as compared to direct intravitreous injection of recombinant protein allowed to demonstrate Protein 6 efficacy at very low concentrations. Based on these results, a phase I/II clinical trial is conducted [ Identifier: NCT03308045].

Keywords: Electrotransfer; Gene therapy; Non-infectious posterior uveitis; Plasmid; TNF-R1; TNF-alpha; Uveitis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ciliary Body / metabolism
  • Ciliary Body / pathology
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Male
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Plasmids / therapeutic use*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / genetics*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Transfection / methods
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Decoy Receptors / genetics*
  • Uveitis / genetics
  • Uveitis / pathology
  • Uveitis / therapy*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Decoy Receptors
  • recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-binding protein-1

Associated data