Acucela inks dev. deal for two compounds

Bothell, WA-based Acucela has inked co-development deals for two of its eye therapies with Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. One pact covers the development of ACU-4429 for dry AMD and the late-stage therapy Rebamipide, which is in a late-stage study for dry eye.

ACU-4429 is in a Phase I trial for dry AMD. According to the company, "ACU-4429 slows down the eye's 'visual cycle,' the process by which the retina constantly regenerates pigment, but one that also emits A2E, a retinoid-related toxic byproduct that leads to AMD.  Slowing down the visual cycle halts the accumulation of A2E." Otsuka will funds clinical development through Phase II, with both companies splitting the cost of Phase III.

In the deal for ACU-4429, Acucela garners a $5 million upfront payment and up to $258 million in potential milestones. Both companies will co-promote the drug in North America. Otsuka is paying an unspecified upfront payment and milestones for Rebamipide.

- here's the ACU-4429 release
- check out the release on Rebamipide