Bayer is teaming up with Finland's DelSiTech to develop eye drugs on its drug delivery platform, in another move to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive eye-treatment field.
Under a licensing deal, Bayer will shell out milestone payments and royalties to DelSiTech as drugs using its technology make their way through development and onto the market. Bayer will also cover expenses through the process.
The partners didn't specify which Bayer products might use DelSiTech's delivery approach and didn't disclose the size of the potential milestone payments.
Effectively delivering drugs in the eye is one of the biggest challenges in developing new treatments for eye diseases. DelSiTech’s system is based on a biodegradable silica matrix where an active ingredient is embedded. The dissolution of the matrix does not change the pH in the surrounding tissue, as other drug delivery systems can do.
The collaboration with DelSiTech is part of Bayer’s recent push to team up with other companies developing cutting-edge science in ophthalmology, said Andreas Busch, head of drug discovery for Bayer's pharmaceuticals division.
For the past few years, Bayer has been recruiting external forces to help it attack eye diseases. A partnership with Regeneron ($REGN) has already yielded Eylea, a blockbuster macular degeneration treatment that is one of Bayer's most successful new drug launches. The two companies also are working on an Eylea combination therapy together, although that product just hit a snag with a trial failure last week. In 2015, Bayer teamed up with Johns Hopkins University on a 5-year agreement to develop new therapies for retinal diseases.
The German-based pharma is not the only one heading that direction with high hopes for eye-disease treatments. In August, Allergan ($AGN) agreed to pay $95 million for ForSight Vision5 and its lead development program, a periocular ring designed to treat glaucoma. Just weeks before that, Allergan filed for FDA approval of its dry eye device Oculeve, a wireless intranasal tear neurostimulator, which adjusts tear delivery via implants into the mucous membrane in the nose and under the skin below the eyebrow.
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