Nicox, a France-based ophthalmology company, recently signed an exclusive license agreement with China-based Ocumension Therapeutics for developing and commercializing NCX 470, a yet-to-be-approved drug for treating glaucoma in China. According to the agreement, Ocumension Therapeutics will have exclusive rights for developing and commercializing NCX 470 in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Chinese firm will develop and commercialize NCX 470 on its own cost.
According to the agreement, Ocumension Therapeutics is liable to pay €3 million to Nicox upfront as a one-time payment for developing NCX 470. Additionally, the Chinese firm will have to pay Nicox €2.5 million when the French company enters the phase 3 of clinical trials of the drug outside the territory laid in the agreement. Further, Nicox will receive 6% to 12% on sales of NCX 470 in the Chinese territory as royalties. The agreement also makes Ocumension Therapeutics liable to pay an additional amount of over €14 million in milestones associated with the firm’s progress with the drug including its regulatory approval in the region. Nicox will also gain an additional amount of more than €16 million for sales of up to €200 million in the Chinese region. The overall revenue Nicox expects to generate from the agreement is approximately €36 million. The main idea behind the agreement is to access the fast-growing Chinese glaucoma markets.
Glaucoma is a disease which occurs when excess fluid builds up in the front of the eye causing harm to the optic nerve. The disease causes progressive loss of vision and may lead to irreversible blindness. According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the second-leading reason for causing irreversible blindness in the global population and is expected to further create an upsurge in the patients suffering from blindness in the foreseeable future. The glaucoma drug market accounted for over 25% of the revenue generated from ophthalmic drugs worldwide. The most widely used drugs prescribed for treating glaucoma globally were Novartis’ Travatan, Pfizer’s Xalatan also popularly known as latanoprost and Allergan’s Lumigan.
Nicox already has a US-approved drug for glaucoma in Vytzulta is developing NCX 470 as a second-generation drug to help in effectively treating glaucoma. NCX 470 aims at decreasing intraocular pressure in patients suffering from ocular hypertension and open-angle glaucoma. According to Nicox, NCX 470 has the potential to greatly reduce intraocular pressure by releasing both bimatoprost and nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin analogs. The NCX 470 is protected by a patent that is valid until 2029.