Demodex blepharitis is a highly prevalent, yet often missed or misdiagnosed lid margin disease that impacts approximately 25 million eye care patients in the U.S.
IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TARS), whose mission is to focus on unmet needs and apply proven science and new technology to revolutionize treatment for patients, starting with eye care, today announced the launch of the “Look at the Lids” disease education campaign for Demodex blepharitis, a common lid margin disease that can negatively impact patients’ daily activities and eyelid health. The novel campaign is designed to encourage eye care professionals to screen for Demodex blepharitis in all eye care patients to identify and diagnose the disease sooner. The campaign will be unveiled at the 2022 American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting in Chicago and the American Academy of Optometry (AAOpt) Annual Meeting in San Diego. “Look at the Lids” features real Demodex blepharitis patients and will include educational tools and resources for eye care professionals, including an informative website (www.LookattheLids.com), social media channels, webinars, launch events, and interactive activities at the Academy conferences.
“We’re thrilled to launch this truly unique disease education campaign for Demodex blepharitis, a pervasive and damaging eye disease that is commonly overlooked,” said Aziz Mottiwala, Chief Commercial Officer of Tarsus. “The goal of this campaign is to support eye care professionals so they can confidently and more frequently diagnose patients. Tarsus is committed to elevating eyelid health, and we look forward to bringing more awareness to this disease that negatively impacts so many patients.”
Approximately 25 million eye care patients in the United States have Demodex blepharitis, a lid margin disease characterized by eyelid inflammation, redness, and ocular irritation. The disease is caused by an infestation of Demodex mites, the most common ectoparasite found on humans. Collarettes, the cylindrical waxy debris composed of mite waste products and eggs on the eyelashes, are the pathognomonic sign of Demodex blepharitis, and can be identified by an eye care professional when a patient looks down during a slit lamp exam. One hundred percent of patients with collarettes have Demodex blepharitis.
“Demodex blepharitis, though extremely common, can masquerade as ocular allergies or dry eye disease since the symptoms are often similar,” said Eric Donnenfeld, MD, Cornea, Laser Cataract & Refractive Surgeon at OCLI Vision in New York. “The disease can be missed unless an eye care professional is specifically looking for the presence of collarettes, the sure sign of Demodex blepharitis. Fortunately, identifying collarettes is a simple step achieved by asking a patient to look down during a routine eye exam. I see Demodex in my practice daily, and I am encouraged that there is a campaign that will bring more visibility to this disease and assist other clinicians in their efforts to improve eyelid health.”
At both Academy meetings, “Look at the Lids” will have an interactive exhibit booth featuring a custom photo activation that allows eye care professionals to showcase their commitment to eyelid health by adding their own eyelid photo to a real-time updated video wall. The campaign will also feature launch events and interactive activities, all designed to provide disease education.
“It is remarkable how many patients I discover who have Demodex just by examining their lashes when they look down during a regular eye exam,” said Selina McGee, OD, FAAO, CEO of BeSpoke Vision in Oklahoma. “This disease is often hiding in plain sight, and without properly screening for it, many patients go undiagnosed. Demodex can cause damage and discomfort when left untreated, and I’m excited to be a part of a campaign designed to increase the identification and diagnosis of this very common disease.”
Eye care professionals can subscribe to the Collarette Coalition email list and be the first to receive the latest news and information on Demodex blepharitis at www.LookattheLids.com. The website also allows eye care professionals to submit their own photos and videos to the ‘Lid Gallery.’ Additionally, they can share their own Demodex blepharitis stories with the eye care community on social media by using #LookattheLids and following and tagging @lookatthelids on Instagram and Twitter.
In concert with the campaign – and as part of Tarsus’ commitment to education and innovation in eye care – the company will provide a donation to both the American Academy of Ophthalmology Foundation and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.
About Demodex Blepharitis
Blepharitis is a common lid margin disease that is characterized by eyelid margin inflammation, redness and ocular irritation. Demodex blepharitis is caused by an infestation of Demodex mites, the most common ectoparasite found on humans and accounts for over two-thirds of all blepharitis cases. Demodex blepharitis may affect as many as 25 million Americans based on an extrapolation from the Titan study indicating 58% of patients presenting to U.S. eye care clinics have collarettes, a pathognomonic sign of Demodex infestation, and that at least 45 million people annually visit an eye care clinic. Demodex blepharitis can have a significant clinical burden and negative impact on patients’ daily lives. The Titan study also showed that current management tools, such as tea tree oil and lid wipes, are ineffective at treating Demodex blepharitis. Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for Demodex blepharitis.
About Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Tarsus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. applies proven science and new technology to revolutionize treatment for patients, starting with eye care. Tarsus is advancing its pipeline to address several diseases with high unmet need across a range of therapeutic categories, including eye care, dermatology, and infectious disease prevention. Tarsus is studying two investigational medicines in clinical trials. Its lead product candidate, TP-03, is a novel therapeutic which has demonstrated positive results in two pivotal trials for the treatment of Demodex blepharitis, and of which a New Drug Application has been submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). TP-03 is also being developed for the treatment of Meibomian Gland Disease, and currently being studied in a Phase 2a clinical trial. In addition, Tarsus is developing TP-05, an oral, non-vaccine therapeutic for the prevention of Lyme disease, which is currently being studied in a Phase 1b clinical trial.
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements.” These statements include statements regarding the potential market size for TP-03, future events and Tarsus’ plans for and the anticipated benefits of its product candidates including TP-03 and TP-05, the timing, objectives and results of the clinical trials, anticipated regulatory and development milestones, and the quotations of Tarsus’ management and consultants. The words, without limitation, “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” or “would,” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these or similar identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors. Further, there are other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statement and they are detailed from time to time in the reports Tarsus files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Tarsus’ Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 filed on March 14, 2022 and the most recent Form 10-Q quarterly filing filed with the SEC on August 11, 2022, each of which Tarsus incorporates by reference into this press release, copies of which are posted on its website and are available from Tarsus without charge. However, new risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on the current expectations of Tarsus’ management team and speak only as of the date hereof, and Tarsus specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8a55faf1-5038-425d-85da-0325acdb2c0a