Many ophthalmologists can tell you that patient compliance is one of the biggest hindrances to proper treatment. That's because there is some squeamishness about repeatedly squeezing a liquid into the eye. And, of course, much of the medication is lost using this low-tech method. And with the baby boomers not getting any younger, there is a potentially big market for easy delivery of medicine for glaucoma and other age-related eye diseases.
These are presumably reasons why drug giant Pfizer is so interested in what's going on with drug-delivery specialists pSivida. As FierceBiotech reported, Watertown, MA-based pSivida is pocketing a $2.3 million payment from Pfizer as it preps for a Phase I/II study on a bioerodible eye implant designed to provide sustained release of latanoprost, a well known glaucoma and ocular hypertension treatment.
Under a revised agreement, Pfizer will have an option to take over the program after Phase II in exchange for a $20 million payment, a promise of $146.6 million in combined milestone payments and double-digit royalties on any sales. The product candidate is described as a new, compact drug-delivery implant based on pSivida's Durasert tech. It's designed to be "administered by an eye care professional in a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure; it is also designed to be injected into the subconjunctival space of the eye and to be bioerodible." That means it will be absorbed into the body and there will be no need for surgical removal.
As the Associated Press points out, pSivida and Pfizer have more in common than just a silent "P," and the two have been working together on drug-delivery technology since April 2007. AP also reminds us that the Durasert system is also used in Iluvien, an eye drug candidate pSivida developed in partnership with Alimera Sciences, which is attempting to get approval to market Iluvien to treat diabetic macular edema.
"The $2.3 million payment from Pfizer comes on top of the approximately $7 million in R&D support we have already received from Pfizer since we first started our partnership in 2007," pSivida CEO Paul Ashton said in a release.
Not to claim any kind of prescience, but a few people might remember that you read it here first.