Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis has signed an agreement to acquire US-based Encore Vision, which focuses on the development of a new treatment in presbyopia.
The acquisition is set to add a disease-modifying topical treatment for presbyopia to the Novartis ophthalmology pipeline.
It will also further provide a potentially disruptive innovation to patients in a new therapeutic area.
Novartis drug development global head Vasant Narasimhan said: "There is a large need for innovative, effective and safe treatment options for people with presbyopia, and there is currently no disease-modifying treatment available at all.
“The addition of this topical disease modifying treatment to our portfolio, if successful, will provide affected people with a new option to improve and maintain their vision and quality of life."
EV06 is Encore Vision's lead investigational product and a topical treatment for presbyopia, a common age-related loss of near distance vision that is characterised by a progressive inability to focus on close objects.
A total of 50 patients were treated daily for 90 days with topical EV06 and 25 patients with placebo, as part of a Phase I/II masked, placebo-controlled proof of concept study.
The product highlighted a statistical significant difference to placebo in distant corrected near vision at all time points measured.
The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.
Novartis combined its retina medicines business with the Alcon pharmaceuticals business this year and is currently operating as one ophthalmology franchise under Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Image: Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Photo: courtesy of Andrew from Flickr.