More pharmaceutical and research companies are pursuing drugs to treat or prevent hearing loss, says the article “Sound Science” by Lisa M. Jarvis in the April 7 edition (Vol 92, Issue 14, pgs 12-17) of Chemical & Engineering News.

The article points out that there are currently few pharmaceutical treatments for the ear, except for antibiotic eardrops. But this is changing. An array of treatment and prevention strategies are focusing on both the inner ear and the central nervous system, with the popularity for pursuing these avenues being cited as the large number of potential patients, lack of current treatment options, the clear-cut end-points in the research, and the small universe of hearing care specialists.

The article includes commentary from principals at Otonomy, Autifony Therapeutics, Inception Sciences, as well as researchers Edwin Rubel, PhD, and Albert Edge, PhD. It also notes two companies thought to have products only a few years from commercialization—Auris and Otonomy—as well as others like GenVec and Novartis which are researching gene therapy for hair cell regeneration. Other firms reportedly working in the market include Eli Lilly & Co and Audion Therapeutics.

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