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Our Mission

The Sturge-Weber Foundation (The SWF) global mission is to improve the quality of life and care for people with Sturge-Weber syndrome and associated Port-Wine Birthmark conditions through tenacious collaboration with clinical partners and pioneers, education, advocacy, research and friendly support. Learn more and get involved.

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The Sturge-Weber Foundation Partners With Qlaris Bio In Phase 1/2 Studies of QLS-101, an Investigational Therapy Designed to Lower Episcleral Venous Pressure (EVP) in Patients with Glaucoma

SWF and Qlaris Partner on new clinical trial program for EVP

Thursday, April 15th, Qlaris announced its first patient enrollment in a 1/2 clinical program of QLS-101. QLS-101, is an investigational therapy designed to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by reducing episcleral venous pressure (EVP) in individuals with glaucoma.

The Sturge-Weber Foundation (SWF) will be instrumental through its partnership with Qlaris and its 26 Clinical Care Network and Research locations through the enrollment process. Those participants in the Qlaris QLS-101 will be identified by using the SWF International Registry and other methods.

SWF Patient Registry
SWS patients that are enrolled in the SWF International Registry will facilitate the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and treatment programs for the various conditions associated with Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS). 

“The SWF has been compiling key natural history patient data for 34 in preparation for trials such as this, with more to come.” said Karen L. Ball, SWF President and CEO. 

For those interested in enrolling in the SWF International Registry, please contact the SWF via email,

Episcleral Venous Pressure (EVP)
EVP is a condition that affects several SWS patients.  Due to the vascular overgrowth associated with SWS, several patients experience EVP, causing excessive pressure on the eye, resulting in elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), or glaucoma, that in some cases lead to total blindness in the affected eye. Current maximal therapy and open angle/normal tension glaucoma treatments are limited in SWS related glaucoma.

QLS-101, Qlaris Bio’s lead product candidate, is a novel prodrug of levcromakalim, an ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channel modulator. By lowering episcleral venous pressure (EVP) and increasing aqueous humor outflow through vessels distal to the trabecular meshwork, QLS-101 may be able to uniquely address diseases of pathologic EVP resulting in elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). QLS-101 was invented at Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota (a SWF Clinical Care Network Center) and is being developed under an exclusive worldwide license.

“The unique profile of QLS-101 has generated strong interest in an EVP-lowering therapy among leading ophthalmologists, researchers, patients, and investors,” said Thurein Htoo, MS, MBA, chief executive officer and co-founder of Qlaris Bio. “Our rapid advance into the clinic was built on the innovative research of Professor Michael Fautsch, PhD, at Mayo Clinic and the Qlaris team’s ophthalmic drug development expertise.”

The Sturge-Weber Foundation
The Sturge-Weber Foundation (SWF) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that exists to assist patients and families living with the condition of SWS. SWF drives awareness to the general public and brings together medical professionals to collaborate on new and existing medical research and treatments to improve the quality of life for patients. Funding raised by the SWF goes toward research specific to SWS and other Port Wine Birthmark (PWB) conditions such as research grants in the dermatological, ophthalmological and neurological fields. For additional information, visit or email