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Alcon, the global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, announced today that it has gained exclusive rights to commercialise ocriplasmin outside the United States for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA).
If approved, it will be the first pharmacological treatment for patients with symptomatic VMA, including macular hole.
Symptomatic VMA is a progressive, debilitating eye disease that may lead to visual distortion, loss in visual acuity and central blindness.
Alcon is licensing ocriplasmin from ThromboGenics, a bio-pharmaceutical company based in Belgium.
The agreement grants Alcon exclusive commercial rights outside the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, Alcon will make an upfront payment of €75 million (approx. USD 100 million) to ThromboGenics with additional potential payments based on milestones, as well as royalties on sales of ocriplasmin, if approved.
“There are thousands of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion patients who currently do not have an available treatment option,” said Kevin Buehler, Division Head Alcon.
“The clinical results for ocriplasmin show improved visual function and that earlier intervention may limit the progression of the disease,” he added.
“Ocriplasmin is a strategic fit for Alcon and is expected to further enhance our portfolio of innovative treatments for the eye.”
Ocriplasmin is currently under review with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as the first pharmacological treatment for symptomatic VMA, including macular hole.
The drug was accepted for review by the EMA in October 2011. ThromboGenics retains the rights to commercialise ocriplasmin in the United States and a decision on approval is expected from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the second half of 2012.