Over the last ten years Dr. Kimberly Drenser, Clinical Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Oakland University (OU) William Beaumont Hospital and co-founder of Caeregen Therapeutics has partnered with Dr. Kenneth Mitton, Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences and OU Eye Research Institute (ERI) faculty member, for investigations on the effects of FZD4 variants on Norrin signaling and the effects of Norrin in the mouse oxygen-induced-retinopathy model.
In addition to his academic appointments, Dr. Mitton is the Basic Science Director of the Pediatric Retinal Research Laboratory (PRRL) as well as the Control of Gene Expression Laboratory (CGEL) in the Eye Research Institute at OU. As a broadly trained scientist in cell signaling, enzymology, gene-expression, and protein biochemistry, Dr. Mitton worked with Dr. Drenser and Wendy Dailey, Caeregen Research Manager, to design a bacterial-based production process for CTR-107 (Noregen® ), a synthetic version of the human protein norrin, as a Phase-I STTR feasibility project which was submitted successfully to the National Eye Institute (NEI)/ National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2019.
As the principle investigator for the Phase-I STTR grant, Dr. Mitton worked with the Caeregen Therapeutic’s lab to develop the overall research plan, and successfully achieve the numerous, critical grant objectives including 1) consistent recombinant protein expression and yield in E. Coli; 2) extraction and purification of CTR-107 protein suitable for in vivo evaluation in rodents; 3)protein refolding to generate active CTR-107 capable of binding to FZD4; 4) altering gene expression in primary human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs), and; 5) accelerating vascular regrowth in the mouse oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) model.
Dr. Mitton continues to partner Caeregen Therapeutic’s research team on scientific characterization of CTR-107, from research studies utilizing intra-ocular injection to retinal imaging and ERG testing in the ERI’s Pediatric Retinal Research Laboratory. As part of Caeregen’s recently awarded Phase-2 SBIR grant, Dr. Mitton will build on the strong foundation of research he has helped to establish by undertaking further in vivoand in vitro studies to characterize safety and activity of CTR-107 to support initiation of the first clinical studies in patients planned for 2024.
For more information regarding the Mitton Lab at Oakland University, click here.