Bayer and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have jointly developed a combination therapy for the treatment of eye diseases.

Through the collaboration, Regeneron will combine its angiopoietin2 (Ang2) antibody nesvacumab with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) trap aflibercept.

The combination is being evaluated in two separate Phase II clinical studies as a co-formulated single intravitreal injection in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration or diabetic macular edema.

According to the companies, preclinical data has shown that angiopoietins act with the VEGF family to promote the formation and maturation of blood and lymphatic vessels in the eye.

Angiopoietins are a family of vascular growth factors discovered by Regeneron.

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Bayer pharmaceuticals division executive committee member Dr Joerg Moeller said: "Inhibiting the angiopoietin 2 pathway is a promising new approach for a combination therapy, and we are looking forward to working on it together with Regeneron."

Under the agreement, Regeneron will receive $50m in upfront payments and will share global development costs for the programme with Bayer. It will also receive up to $80m in potential payments related to development and regulatory milestones.

"Inhibiting the angiopoietin 2 pathway is a promising new approach for a combination therapy, and we are looking forward to working on it together with Regeneron."

Bayer will have exclusive commercialisation rights to the combination product outside the US and will share potential profits equally with Regeneron.

Regeneron retains exclusive commercialisation rights within the US and will retain 100% of profits from sales in the US.

Regeneron chief scientific officer George D Yancopoulos said: "Our collaboration with Bayer has been extremely successful to date, as we work together to combat vision loss around the world.

"Vision loss can often have devastating consequences to an individual’s quality of life.

"This new agreement reflects our shared commitment to being leaders in ophthalmology and to improving anatomical and visual outcomes for patients with retinal eye diseases."

The companies are also working together to develop and commercialise eylea (aflibercept) injection.

In addition, they are working on the global development of REGN2176-3, a platelet derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-beta) antibody rinucumab co-formulated in a single intravitreal injection with aflibercept, which is currently in Phase II clinical trials for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.