A disease modifying novel molecule

AudioCure Pharma develops novel pharmaceutical therapies for the prevention and treatment of a range of hearing impairments with high, unmet medical need. Our lead candidate is a novel molecule named AC102.

The primary focus of AudioCure’s development program for AC102 is acute hearing loss and acute tinnitus. Currently there are no approved drug treatments available for these disorders. Our front-runner molecule has undergone comprehensive preclinical research which demonstrates that it acts upon the sensory cells and neurons with their connections that are central to the hearing process. As no other drug has shown any such action, AC102 has the potential to become the first breakthrough causative therapy (i.e. treatment aimed at eliminating the cause) for acute hearing loss and acute tinnitus. By treating these conditions as soon as possible after onset, it is our vision to prevent the development of long-term, chronic hearing impairments.

How AC102 works

In acute sensorineural hearing loss, the sensitive structures within the inner ear which are critical for the hearing process are damaged; namely the inner and outer hair cells and their synaptic connections to the auditory nerve. Preclinical studies have demonstrated the unique potential of AC102 to tackle the damage to these key players.

Mechanisms of Action

AC102 protects and restores cells of the inner ear

Outer hair cells within the cochlea sharpen and amplify sound pressure waves from the outer ear. This signal is then received by the inner hair cells which send it on to the brain via the auditory nerve. Therefore, the inner and outer hair cells and the neurons of the auditory nerve are critical to the hearing process. Following acute hearing loss, AC102 acts upon all three of these cell types to either protect them from further damage or restore already damaged cells.

AC102 prevents outer hair cell apoptotic cell death

Outer hair cells act as amplifiers in the hearing process. Damage by an acoustic trauma can lead to their programmed cell death, a process known as apoptosis. Once dead, these cells cannot be replaced and their amplification role is lost. Our studies demonstrate that AC102 significantly reduces apoptosis of outer hair cells following acute hearing loss.

AC102 enhances protection and repair processes

Following acute hearing loss, the inner hair cells can also lose their synaptic connection to the auditory nerve. In the presence of AC102 these connections may be restored in an acoustic trauma preclinical model. This suggests that AC102 enhances factors that are central to important protection and repair processes, giving the cells and synaptic connections of the auditory system a greater chance of survival after injury.

In summary, AC102 acts as an antagonist of the multitude of pathological processes leading to hearing loss.

Continue reading: