Laboratoires Théa has secured the European rights to the low-dose atropine eye drop NVK-002 from Nevakar in a deal worth up to $135 million. Nevakar is developing the candidate as a treatment for nearsightedness in children.
Nearsightedness, known medically as myopia, manifests in many children and persists for the rest of their lives. Glasses and contact lenses correct the nearsightedness, enabling people to see distant objects as if they were free from myopia, but do not address the underlying condition or stop it from deteriorating.
Nevakar is developing NVK-002 as a treatment for myopia. The experimental product candidate is a preservative-free eye drop containing a low dose of atropine, a small-molecule antimuscarinic agent already used to treat certain poisonings and for other purposes.
Théa, a French eye-care specialist, sees potential in the approach, leading it to strike a deal for the European rights to NVK-002. The deal tasks Nevakar with winning approval for NVK-002 in Europe, at which point Théa will take over to commercialize and distribute the product. Nevakar is in line to receive up to $135 million tied to “several key regulatory and sales milestones.”
In a statement to disclose the deal, Nevakar CEO Navneet Puri, Ph.D., said: “With its strong commercial organization, relationships with key opinion leaders, and deep knowledge of the ophthalmology landscape in Europe, Théa will provide NVK-002 with a sustainable first mover advantage in these markets.”
There is a long history of using atropine to stop the progression of myopia that in recent decades has been validated by clinical trials. However, the FDA is yet to approve a low-dose atropine formulation, leading physicians to refer patients to compounding pharmacies.
Nevakar is positioning NVK-002 as a more consistent and stable formulation that is sterile and preservative-free. Other companies including Eyenovia and Sydnexis are developing similar products.