Demodex blepharitis is a highly prevalent, yet often undiagnosed eyelid disease that impacts approximately 25 million eye care patients in the U.S.
IRVINE, Calif., May 08, 2023 (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 “Don’t Freak Out. Get Checked Out.”, a disease education campaign designed to encourage patients who may have Demodex blepharitis to visit their eye care provider for an eyelid check. In support of Healthy Vision Month in May, the first of its kind campaign is designed to support patients on their journey to identify the cause of their eyelid discomfort.
“We know that many patients struggle with eyelid discomfort for years, and in many cases, are unaware of the potential root cause,” said Aziz Mottiwala, Chief Commercial Officer of Tarsus. “This targeted campaign is designed to reach patients who may be suffering from Demodex blepharitis to provide them with the necessary resources to help them more effectively understand the disease and arm them with useful information they can discuss with their eye care providers. We are hopeful that this campaign will finally provide patients with answers and support them on their journey to manage their disease and overall eyelid health.”
The “Don’t Freak Out. Get Checked Out.” website, EyelidCheck.com, features useful tools and educational resources designed to encourage dialogue between patients and their eye care providers about Demodex blepharitis, including a quiz educating on differentiating factors of potential causes of eyelid discomfort, patient testimonials, information about joining a Demodex blepharitis community, and social media channels.
Demodex blepharitis is caused by an overpopulation of Demodex mites, the most common ectoparasites found in humans. When present in small numbers, their presence goes largely unnoticed. But when an infestation occurs, it can cause ocular irritation, redness and inflammation.
“I see Demodex blepharitis every day in my practice – and because it is so common in patients with concomitant eye conditions or diseases like dry eye or cataracts, most are not even aware they have the disease,” said Neda Shamie, MD, Maloney Vision Institute. “I’m enthusiastic about a campaign designed to elevate awareness about Demodex blepharitis and hopeful that patients with existing symptoms will begin to prioritize their eyelid health through more regular and consistent eye doctor visits.”
Demodex blepharitis is diagnosed by the presence of collarettes -- waxy, crusty buildup on the base of the eyelashes that are a sure sign of Demodex blepharitis. All eye care providers can easily identify collarettes by asking a patient to look down during a routine slit lamp (eye exam), so they can evaluate the eyelash margin.
“Eyelids are the gateway to overall eye health, and I am thrilled to be a part of a campaign that is prioritizing this and encouraging patients who struggle with eyelid irritation, redness and itching to seek out provider support,” said Selina McGee, OD, BeSpoke Vision. “Demodex blepharitis patients often complain of severe discomfort and can be extremely conscious of how their eyes feel all day. Yet, despite these challenges – most have never heard of this disease. I’m excited to finally see more attention being given to Demodex blepharitis awareness and education so that patients know when they should seek out professional care.”
Patients with Demodex blepharitis commonly experience worry and disruptions in their daily life, including feeling conscious about their eyes throughout the day and having a negative appearance of their eyes or eyelids.
"It’s hard to remember a time in recent years where my eyes were not bothering me,” said Darrin Breese, Demodex blepharitis patient. “Frequent itching, redness, and crusty eyelids can be disruptive to my daily activities and routine while also making me self-conscious of my eyes. It can be frustrating to struggle with a condition for years without any answers, and I am relieved to finally understand the cause of my discomfort. I am hopeful that with more education about Demodex blepharitis and how easy it is to diagnose, more people like me will proactively visit their eye doctors for an eyelid check.”
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 three 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 accepted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) with a PDUFA target action date of August 25, 2023. TP-03 is also being developed for the potential treatment of Meibomian Gland Disease, and currently being studied in a Phase 2a clinical trial. In addition, Tarsus is developing TP-04 for the potential treatment of papulopustular rosacea and TP-05, an oral tablet non-vaccine therapeutic for the potential prevention of Lyme disease. TP-04 and TP-05 are both currently being studied in Phase 2a clinical trials to evaluate safety, tolerability, and proof-of-activity.
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 planned disease education campaign, the potential market size for TP-03, future events and Tarsus’ plans for and the anticipated benefits of its product candidates including TP-03, TP-04, and TP-05, 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, 2022 filed on March 17, 2023 and the most recent Form 10-Q quarterly filing filed with the SEC, 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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