NIHR Moorfields Clinical Research Facility (CRF)

Since 2007, the NIHR Moorfields Clinical Research Facility (CRF) has pioneered the translation of laboratory discoveries for the benefit of patients with eye conditions.

This includes the first gene therapy to cure an inherited human disease and the first stem cell membrane therapy to treat the most common cause of blindness in the developed world.

Such landmark medical advances have cemented our pre-eminent international reputation for ophthalmic experimental medicine attracting biotech, device and pharmaceutical industry investment that is underpinned by our NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.


Our Aims

  • Widen our patient-oriented experimental medicine and early phase trial portfolio to serve our diverse community
  • Train and develop world-class researchers in ophthalmology
  • Grow our public and industry partnerships.


Our facilities

Moorfields Clinical Research Facility (CRF) has an international reputation for ophthalmic research. With world-class researchers and staff supported by investment in state-of-the-art specialist devices, Moorfields CRF has 26 patient examination rooms with multiple associated research and treatment units to test new methods to diagnose eye diseases and to evaluate innovative treatments for common and rare diseases.


Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is located on City Road, is the largest provider of eye service globally. We are a world-leading centre of excellence for research and education and are at the forefront of ophthalmic innovation. As a major education centre, we attract very large numbers of ophthalmology trainees and researchers.


The £20 million Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre is the largest ophthalmic children’s hospital in the world and is located on the main hospital campus. A hub for paediatric research and treatment, it supports world-class specialist expertise in all eye conditions. The rapid transference of ‘bench to bedside’ research is promoted by its proximity to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.


Henry Wellcome Building for Translational Eye Research (£11M Wellcome Trust funding) supports extensive cellular and molecular biology facilities for cellular and gene therapies, gene editing, ocular pharmacokinectic, microdevice testing and retinal chip research. It houses stem cell therapy groups including Cells for Sight, the first UK MHRA accredited facility for human stem cell therapy.


UCL Institute of Ophthalmology has the largest number of ophthalmic scientists in Europe. Our research partnership is delivering an extensive provider of ophthalmic research portfolio, ranked 1st globally for publications. Its location adjacent to Moorfields Eye Hospital enables rapid translation of biomedical research to clinical studies at Moorfields CRF.


Rooms and equipment

Our CRF activities are integrated with various departments in Moorfields Eye Hospital. In addition, dedicated laboratory facilities available to support CRF activities are also housed in the adjacent Henry Wellcome Translational Building for Eye Research and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology with direct corridor link to the CRF.


Our campus

  • Moorfields CRF provides dedicated space for specialist staff and equipment for experimental medicine research.
  • Retinal Therapy Unit is a specialised recruitment hub for patients receiving intravitreal injections to treat age related macular degeneration.

  • Moorfields R&D houses research management and administration staff supporting all Moorfields CRF studies.

  • Diagnostic Hub monitors patients with chronic retinal conditions recruited for experimental medicine and NIHR Bioresource.

  • The Garfield Weston Assessment Unit is a dedicated facility for functional vision assessment and developing clinical end-points.

  • Genetic Service links CRF patients to Genomics England and NIHR Bioresource, providing genetic information to inform gene therapy studies.

  • Moorfields Children’s CRF is one of the world’s largest children’s eye research facilities, leading innovative trials ranging from a new treatments for lazy eye to gene therapy.

  • Image Reading Centre is a global clinical trial image grading centre, which is also developing and validating digital analytical tools to enhance clinical trials

  • Electrodiagnostics Centre is the UK’s largest  centre with the most advanced devices for studying electric activity of the eye as endpoints in clinical trials.

  • Moorfields Accident & Emergency is the largest ophthalmic A&E in the UK and is a source of recruitment for clinical trials, with acutely presenting patients, for example, retinal detachment and optic neuritis.

  • UCL Institute of Ophthalmology delivers advanced ophthalmic research and education in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital and part of UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences.

  • The Henry Wellcome Building for Translational Eye Research supports extensive molecular biology facilities for translational projects including cellular and gene therapies.

  • Moorfields Eye Hospital Operating Suite supports the delivery of CRF trials with novel genes, stem cells, devices and intraocular therapeutics.


Our team

The core CRF workforce include those whose activities contained within the dedicated CRF floorplan.

  • Dedicated clinical research teams.
  • Specialist technical and nursing workforce.
  • Administration teams to support studies.

As our activities are not only contained within the dedicated CRF floor plan, a wider workforce also provide input to the trial activities in adjacent premises.


Research highlights

First-in-man studies


A first-in human trial to study the safety and tolerability of single rising intravitreal doses (open label, non-randomised, uncontrolled) and, in addition, the early biological response of multiple intravitReal dosing (single-masked, randomised, sham-controlled) of BI 764524 in panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) treated proLiferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) patients with diabetic macular ischemia (DMI) – the HORNBILL Study.

BI 1418 0001

Safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of single rising intravitreal doses and multiple intravitreal dosing of BI 754132 in patients with geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration (open label, non-randomised, uncontrolled).


A first-in-human trial to study safety and tolerability of single rising intravitreal doses (oPen label, non-randomized, uncontrolled) and, in addition, the early biological Response of multiple intravitreal doses (double-masked, randomIsed, shamcontrolled) of BI 765128 in panretinal photocoaGulation (PRP) treated diabetic retinopathy (DR) patients with diabetic macular ischemia (DMI) – the PARTRIDGE Study.


Stem cell studies

The London Project to Cure Blindness

Phase 1, open-label, safety and feasibility study of implantation of TLPCB-05206388 (human embryonic stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) living tissue equivalent) in subjects with acute wet age related macular degeneration and recent rapid vision decline.


Our latest Gene Therapy Trials

Our current studies in the gene therapy portfolio are:

  • A study in normally-sighted participants and in participants with X-linked RetinitisPigmentosa (XLRP) associated with variants in the etinitis pigmentosa guanosinetriphosphatase regulator (RPGR) gene (RPGR-XLRP) to validate the Vision-Guided Mobility Assessment for use in natural history studies and therapeuticclinical trials of adult, adolescent and child patients with Inherited Retinal Diseases.
  • An open label, multi-centre, Phase I/II dose escalation trial of arecombinant adeno-associated virus vector (AAV2/8-hG1.7p.cohCNGA3for genetherapy of children with Achromatopsia owing to defects in CNGA3


How to find us

NIHR Clinical Research Facility
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
162 City Road


Email NIHR Clinical Research Facility