Genesis Global Group

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PharmOptima is a proud member of Genesis Drug Discovery & Development (GD3), a fully integrated CRO providing services to support drug discovery programs of our clients from target discovery through IND filing and managing Phase I-III clinical trials.

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Our ophthalmic services begin, run and conclude with a high level of technical expertise.

From specialized ocular dosing by trained scientists, to the precise dissection of specific ocular tissues by our specialists, followed by exacting sample processing and bioanalysis by PharmOptima’s experienced staff; we stand out against the large CRO model of generalized necropsy technicians and crash & shoot discovery bioanalysis. Our bioanalytical team has extensive experience processing, homogenizing and extracting ocular fluids and tissues. We have developed LC-MS/MS methods for hundreds of compounds.

What we can do for you:

  • validate bioanalytical methods following current FDA Crystal City and OECD guidances
  • perform cross validations for additional species and matrices
  • assay plasma and dosing solutions from regulated animal safety studies (i.e. GLP) and clinical trials
  • assay metabolism of drugs/prodrugs in ocular tissue

Central nervous system trauma and neurodegenerative disorders can trigger a cascade of cellular and molecular events culminating in neuronal apoptosis. The Optic Nerve Crush model provides an effective tool for analyzing the pathogenic mechanisms associated with neuronal injury signaling in vivo. Optic nerve crush has been used as a model neuronal injury, including glaucoma, traumatic optic neuropathies, neurodegeneration and CNS injury. Crush injury to the optic nerve severs the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons leading to the gradual death of RGC neurons in the retina. The model provides an opportunity to study neuronal outcomes following injury, including survival, apoptosis, regeneration and associated biomarkers. Applications include traumatic optic neuropathy, glaucoma and neurodegenerative disease.

Optic nerve crush serves as a useful model for traumatic optic neuropathy and mimics glaucomatous injury, similarly inducing RGC cell death and degeneration. Glaucomatous injury is a pathohistological feature of glaucoma in the optic nerve.

Nerve Crush Illustration

Molecular Readouts Illustration Model Induction

Multidimensional observations strengthen the interpretation: in addition to in-life measurements (i.e., ERG), Immunostaining monitors therapeutic effect, immunoassays track biomarkers, and qRT-PCR provides information on retinal gene expression. Markers tracked in this model include:

Proten/Gene Significance
pcJun neuronal injury
TUJI RGC marker
Atf3 regeneration-associated genes
Sprr1a regeneration-associated genes
Ddit3 (Chop) pro-apoptotic transcription factor
Gfap Reactive astrocyte marker

Treating and Reversing Glaucoma

The GD3 Ocular Center of Excellence is proud to offer efficacy models in which physiological readouts coupled with cellular and biochemical measurements provide a comprehensive snapshot of your treatment's therapeutic potential. The optic nerve crush model can test agents treating glaucoma, traumatic optic neuropathies, neurodegeneration, and CNS injury and inflammation. If your organization is working to treat any of these debilitating diseases, we encourage you to examine our capabilities:

  • Glaucoma
  • In vivo Mouse Model for Glaucoma
  • Traumatic Optic Neuropathies
  • CNS Injury
  • Inflammation
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases

Activation of Signaling Pathways

Western blot of retinal tissue three days following optic nerve crush compared to uninjured control: upregulation of injury marker, pcJun, demonstrates activation of signaling pathways important for neuronal outcome following ONC.

Injury Markers Illustration

Upregulation of Injury Markers

Immunostained whole mount retinas following optic nerve crush (ONC): upregulation of injury marker, pcJun, demonstrates activation of injury signaling pathways resulting in retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death following ONC. Loss of pcJun and TUJI signal three weeks after ONC demonstrates a reduction in the number of surviving RGCs in the weeks following axotomy.

Post ONC Illustration

Robust Transcriptional Response

qRT-PCR of Atf3, Sprr1a, Ddit3 (Chop), and Gfap from retinal RNA four days after optic nerve crush (ONC) compared to uninjured contralateral control (CTL): upregulation of regeneration-associated genes Atf3 and Sprr1a, pro-apoptotic transcription factor Ddit3 (Chop), and reactive astrocyte marker Gfap demonstrates a robust response to injury following ONC. Relative gene expression was calculated using the ΔΔCT method relative to Gapdh and normalized to expression levels in CTL samples.


  1. Dual leucine zipper kinase-dependent PERK activation contributes to neuronal degeneration following insult. Larhammar et al. eLife 2017; 6:e20725.
  2. Longitudinal Morphological and Functional Assessment of RGC Neurodegeneration After Optic Nerve Crush in Mouse. Li et al. Front. Cell. Neurosci. 2020; 14 (109).
  3. An Optic Nerve Crush Injury Murine Model to Study Retinal Ganglion Cell Survival. Tang et al. J. Vis. Exp. 2011; (50): 2685.
Injury Markers Illustration

Optic Nerve Crush Use in Your Research Program

Optic nerve crush allows for the evaluation of drug intervention following neuronal injury at the cellular and biochemical levels. Immunostaining can monitor therapeutic effects, and immunoassays can be developed to track biomarkers following treatment.