NicOx signs extension of ophthalmology agreement with Pfizer
NicOx S.A. today announced it has signed an extension of its March 2006 collaboration agreement, which grants Pfizer Inc the exclusive right to apply its proprietary nitric oxide-donating technology to drug discovery research in the field of ophthalmology. This one-year extension of the research phase of the agreement will result in NicOx receiving E3 million in research funding in March 2008 and prolongs Pfizer's option to license resulting compounds until May 2009.
The joint NicOx-Pfizer research team has been focusing its work on several separate projects, which have involved identifying and testing different classes of nitric oxide-donating compounds that could become treatments for major ocular diseases. In the most advanced project, encouraging results have been observed for various compounds in in vitro and in vivo preclinical models of a prevalent eye disease.
Ennio Ongini, Vice-President of Research at NicOx, declared: "We believe Pfizer's decision to renew this agreement demonstrates its confidence in the joint research team and the potential of NicOx' technology to yield new drug candidates for eye disorders. Considerable progress has been made in the research programs and we are expecting that the collaboration will generate a future candidate for development in a major ocular condition."
Under the terms of the agreement (see press release of March 2, 2006), Pfizer paid NicOx an upfront technology license fee of E5 million and made a E15 million equity investment in the Company during 2006. Pfizer has also paid NicOx E6 million in research funding since signature, in the form of two annual payments of E3 million in 2006 and 2007. NicOx will receive a further E3 million in research funding in 2008, due to this extension of the research phase of the agreement. Pfizer now has the option to obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop and commercialize compounds resulting from the research program, in the field of ophthalmology until May 2009. The agreement provides for total potential milestone payments in excess of E300 million in the ophthalmology field, of which E102 million would arise from the successful full development and launch of the first compound.
Eye diseases affect millions of people worldwide and can lead to impaired vision or total blindness. Many important eye conditions still have no effective treatment, while improved drugs are needed in other areas. Furthermore, the ageing of the population has led to a rapidly growing incidence of these conditions in the world's major pharmaceutical markets. Glaucoma, Age Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy are some of the most prevalent ophthalmic disorders in the developed world.
An earlier collaboration agreement was executed by the parties in August 2004 and focused specifically on the research and development of nitric oxide-donating prostaglandin F2-alpha analogs for the treatment of glaucoma. The selected candidate from this earlier agreement, PF-03187207, is in phase 2 clinical development and two separate studies are currently ongoing in the United States and Japan (see press releases of March 28 & 29, 2007 and January 3, 2008).
NicOx (Bloomberg: COX:FP, Reuters: NCOX.PA) is a product-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of investigational nitric oxide-donating drugs to meet unmet medical needs. NicOx is targeting the therapeutic areas of inflammation and cardio-metabolic disease. Resources are focused on two lead compounds, naproxcinod in phase 3 development for the treatment of signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and NCX 4016 in phase 2 for type 2 diabetes.
NicOx has strategic partnerships with some of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co., Inc.
NicOx S.A. is headquartered in Sophia-Antipolis, France, and is a public company listed on the Euronext Paris (Compartment B: Mid Caps).
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of NicOx S.A. to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the Risk Factors ("Facteurs de Risque") section of the Document de Reference filed with the AMF, which is available on the AMF website (http://www.amf-france.org) or on NicOx S.A.'s website (http://www.nicox.com).