Circadian Technologies

It was back in June 2007 when I bought a small parcel of shares in a Melbourne based company called Circadian Technologies after watching them, on and off,  for several months.  

Originally functioning as a commercial vehicle for outstanding, diverse biomedical research, the company successfully launched and spun out many of Australia’s most prominent biotechnology companies including Axon Instruments, Optiscan Imaging and Antisense Therapeutics.  

 In 2008 Circadian modified its strategy to focus on the development of biologics-based therapies and in 2014 focused company operations solely on the commercial potential of another of its businesses, Opthea. 

Around this time Circadian Technologies sold off its interests in other biotech companies and changed its name to Opthea, to better reflect the company’s new focus. 


To better understand the Opthea of today, you need to understand its products and the diseases they’re targeting. 

Opthea 111

Opthea’s focus is solely on diseases of the eye, with the first being Wet AMD** ( Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration) and the second is DME** (Diabetic Macular Edema).

**For further info on these conditions you can look them up in our Biotech Glossary:

In order to treat these conditions Opthea’s treatments are targeting two members of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) family of proteins, VEGF-C and VEGF-D and their activation of VEGF receptors. 

These proteins promote blood vessel development (angiogenesis) and lymphatic vessel development (lymphangiogenesis).  


Opthea’s lead candidate is called OPT-302.

Without getting bogged down on the minutiae, all you really need to know for now is that OPT-302 is a ‘trap’ inhibitor of VEGF-C and VEGF-D designed specifically for the eye. 

Earlier studies have shown that using existing treatments such as Novartis’ VEGF-A inhibitor, Lucentis, in combination with OPT-302, maximized the benefits to patients, and it was these combinations that were chosen for later studies. 

As so often happens when investing in biotech companies, progress is measured in years, not weeks or months. It is with this in mind, we fast forward to the Opthea of 2021. 

Opthea 2021

In the last several years Opthea has successfully completed a number of clinical trials and it is those that studied Wet AMD that are at a more advanced stage than the DME studies. 

Opthea 222

Results of the Wet AMD trials have informed the trial design of Opthea’s current phase 3 clinical trials. 

For general info about clinical trials, check out my clinical trial blog post.

Clinical trials explained.


Opthea is now conducting two concurrent, global, Phase 3 trials known as ShORe (Study of OPT-302 in combination with Ranibizumab (Lucentis))  versus Lucentis alone, and COAST (Combination OPT-302 with Afibercept Study (Eylea)) versus Eylea alone. Both studies are to looking to treat Wet AMD.

Opthea 444


While the biotech companies search for patients, us biotech investors need  patience. The road is long and full of hazards for both the unlucky and the unwary, but the payoff for success is eye watering. 

Potential Opthea investors would be interested to note that current standard of care drugs, Lucentis and Eylea had combined global sales of $11.9 billion for retinal diseases in 2019, so it should be obvious to all that if successful, OPT-302 represents a significant opportunity. 


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