Splice-Modulating Oligonucleotide QR-110 Restores CEP290 mRNA and Function in Human c.2991+1655A>G LCA10 Models.
Leber congenital amaurosis type 10 (LCA10) is a severe inherited retinal dystrophy associated with mutations in CEP290. The deep intronic c.2991+1655A>G mutation in CEP290 is the most common mutation in LCA10 individuals and represents an ideal target for oligonucleotide therapeutics. Here, a panel of antisense oligonucleotides was designed to correct the splicing defect associated with the mutation and screened for efficacy and safety. This identified QR-110 as the best-performing molecule. QR-110 restored wild-type CEP290 mRNA and protein expression levels in CEP290 c.2991+1655A>G homozygous and compound heterozygous LCA10 primary fibroblasts. Furthermore, in homozygous three-dimensional iPSC-derived retinal organoids, QR-110 showed a dose-dependent restoration of mRNA and protein function, as measured by percentage and length of photoreceptor cilia, without off-target effects. Localization studies in wild-type mice and rabbits showed that QR-110 readily reached all retinal layers, with an estimated half-life of 58 days. It was well tolerated following intravitreal injection in monkeys. In conclusion, the pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, and safety properties make QR-110 a promising candidate for treating LCA10, and clinical development is currently ongoing.