By: Amarylis Fox.
Pharmaceutical Business Review - USA.
April 6, 2006.
Vancouver biotech firm QLT has entered into a licensing agreement with eye specialists Retinagenix to develop active synthetic retinoid products for the treatment of degenerative retinal diseases.
The exclusive worldwide co-development agreement makes QLT responsible for the development and commercialization of products for use in ocular and all other human diseases.
Retinagenix will participate in research in support of the co-development collaboration and be eligible to receive an upfront payment of $1.5 million, and payments upon achievement of certain development, approval and sales milestones as well as a single digit royalty on net sales.
"Degenerative diseases of the retina affect many people worldwide and lead to varying degrees of irreversible blindness," said Marco Northland, chairman of Retinagenix. "We believe that administration of a synthetic retinoid could reverse the defects in the retinoid cycle in patients."
Synthetic retinoid drugs use biochemical strategies for restoring visual function in retinal degeneration as well as aging retina. Genetic diseases in the eye often arise from gene inactivation and subsequent disruption of a metabolic pathway. These same pathways are adversely affected in the natural aging process and may play a role in aging visual deficits including age-related macular degeneration.
Retinagenix's preclinical studies have demonstrated that orally administered synthetic retinoid drugs, cause long-lasting restoration of retinal function. The companies hope the collaboration will enable them to progress a drug candidate into the clinic in the following 18 months.
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