Allergan snags rights to retinal disease drug in $420M pact

Determined to use its cache of cash to muscle its way further into the market for retinal diseases, Allergan has paid $45 million upfront and promised up to $375 million more in milestones to nab the global rights to a mid-stage ophthalmology program underway at Switzerland's Molecular Partners AG.

The two companies plan to collaborate on a Phase IIb study of MP0112, a DARPin protein targeting VEGF under investigation for the treatment of retinal diseases. "This agreement aligns with Allergan's strategy to become a leader in developing new treatments for retinal disease. The goal of this program is to develop a potentially more effective treatment for diseases like neovascular age-related macular degeneration with the possibility for less frequent intravitreal injections," says Scott M. Whitcup, Allergan's CSO.

The Swiss biotech proffered data on MP0112 from two separate phase I/IIa trials in wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema at the meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology earlier this week. Researchers said the studies showed that MP0112 is "well tolerated and has a potentially long lasting effect on vision gain after a single injection. In the studies, for most patients in the cohorts treated with the higher dose of the investigational compound, the potential beneficial effect on visual acuity lasted for approximately 16 weeks."

- here's the release