French ophthalmology firm Nicox has partnered with China-based Ocumension Therapeutics to develop and commercialise its NCX 470 for the treatment of patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

NCX 470 is designed to deliver bimatoprost and nitric oxide to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

The partners signed a licence agreement providing Ocumension with exclusive rights to NCX 470 in a territory that comprises mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In turn, the Chinese firm will pay €3m upfront to Nicox, which will receive additional €2.5m upon initiating a Phase III clinical trial of NCX 470 outside the agreed territory.

Under the terms of the deal, Nicox is also eligible to receive up to €14.5m in milestones linked to Ocumension’s progress with NCX 470, as well as €16.25m over three separate sales milestones associated with potential sales in the territory of up to €200m, and tiered royalties.

Nicox executive vice-president and chief business officer Gavin Spencer said: “This collaboration offers Nicox the opportunity to access the fast-growing Chinese ophthalmology market in partnership with an emerging player.

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“This collaboration offers Nicox the opportunity to access the fast-growing Chinese ophthalmology market in partnership with an emerging player.”

“Ocumension, which is financed by leading investors, has a strong team, both for development and commercialisation, with significant ophthalmology experience and we look forward to developing NCX 470 in the Chinese market with them.”

Ocumension is responsible for performing additional clinical studies for the regulatory approval of NCX 470 in the Chinese market.

The company will incur all the costs associated with the development and marketing of the candidate in the territory.

Ocumension Therapeutics CEO Ye Liu said: “Ocumension is focused on bringing novel ophthalmic therapeutics to the Chinese market, and so we welcome the opportunity to partner with Nicox, one of the leading R&D companies in the glaucoma space, to develop NCX 470.

“We believe the novel nitric oxide-donating mechanism of action of NCX 470 offers significant innovation and potential benefits for patients in our region.”

Ocumension Therapeutics is an ophthalmology company formed by the merger between Wuxi Healthcare Ventures and Frontline BioVentures.