EyeGate adds drug-delivering hydrogel to its pipeline with acquisition of Jade Therapeutics

Hydrogel structure--Courtesy of EyeGate

Waltham, MA's EyeGate ($EYEG) has acquired Jade Therapeutics to get its hands on the Salt Lake City company's drug-delivering hydrogel technology for ophthalmic indications. The deal involves the issuance of 765,728 shares of EyeGate common stock on the Nasdaq and a milestone payment of up to $2,164,451 if a Jade product achieves FDA approval.

EyeGate says Jade's cross-linked thiolated carboxymethyl hyaluronic acid retains water, adheres to the ocular surface for an extended period of time and resists degradation.

The compound can be formulated as a drug-delivering bioerodible film for the front of the eye or an injectable gel for the back of the eye, Jade says, adding that it can be designed in various particles, sizes, and styles.

The tech is sold to treat dog and cat corneal wounds by Bayer under the name Remend, while another version is 510(k)-cleared for dermal wound management, according to the company website.

EyeGate plans a clinical trial for Jade's lead candidate to treat corneal epithelial defects in late 2016.

"The integration of Jade into EyeGate significantly strengthens our market position through the addition of a robust preclinical pipeline that complements EyeGate's ongoing efforts to develop novel treatments for diseases of the eye," said EyeGate CEO Stephen From in a statement. "The acquisition also meets our objective of expanding our development focus and building a diversified portfolio of ocular therapeutic assets led by EGP-437 and our iontophoretic delivery technology."

EGP-437 is a reformulated corticosteroid that is in trials for the treatment of noninfectious anterior uveitis and macular edema. It's delivered using iontophoresis (or the deployment of a low-level electrical current) via the EyeGate II Delivery System.

Valeant ($VRX) has agreed to commercialize EGP-437 for uveitis upon FDA approval in exchange for an upfront cash payment, milestone payments, and royalties.

EyeGate shares trade around $4 after debuting for $8.50 in a $10 million July IPO.

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