Regeneron has ended a collaboration with Ocular Therapeutix to develop a sustained-release version of Eylea. The termination follows the failure of the first formulation to meet the goals of the program and the submission of other candidates to Regeneron for preclinical assessment.
Ocular landed the deal with Regeneron in 2016, securing the chance to receive a $10 million option, $145 million in development and regulatory milestones and a further $150 million, plus royalties, in commercial paydays. Regeneron teamed up with Ocular to assess whether its partner’s hydrogel technology could create sustained-release depots of aflibercept, the active ingredient in Eylea.
However, the wet age-related macular degeneration project hit an early snag. The final formulation Ocular proposed to Regeneron for the initial preclinical tolerability study late in 2017 failed to meet the goals of the program and was later scrapped.
The partners disclosed a revised agreement to develop an extended-delivery, intravitreal implant formulation of Eylea in May 2020. Under the amended agreement, Ocular provided Regeneron with formulations for preclinical assessments.
Now, Regeneron has abandoned the collaboration. Ocular, which has won FDA approval for Dextenza since striking the original Regeneron deal, sought to take the positives from the terminated alliance.
“We learned a great deal about how to formulate our proprietary hydrogel with monoclonal antibodies and to administer them to the suprachoroidal space. This work could become a valuable strategic driver for our future pipeline,” Ocular CEO Antony Mattessich said in a statement.
While Regeneron has jumped ship, Ocular plans to carry on looking into the application of its delivery technology to anti-VEGF agents. Ocular is also trying to treat wet age-related macular degeneration using a formulation of axitinib, the tyrosine kinase inhibitor found in Pfizer’s Inlyta. A phase 1 trial of the axitinib formulation recently dosed its first patient.