Aerie Pharmaceuticals has acquired the Spanish ophthalmic pharmaceutical company Avizorex Pharma, which is developing dry eye disease treatments, according to a press release.
Avizorex’s lead product candidate, AVX-012, contains a potent and selective agonist of the cold sensor and osmolarity sensor TRPM8 ion channel, which regulates ocular surface wetness and blink rate.
A phase 2a study of AVX-012 showed positive results supporting its therapeutic potential in treating the signs and symptoms of dry eye, the release said. Aerie plans to start a phase 2b study in late 2020.
“This acquisition bolsters our pipeline with a clinical-stage dry eye product candidate, and we are excited to expand our footprint in ophthalmology. This product has a novel mechanism of action for treating dry eye, and we believe that, if approved, it could nicely complement the currently approved drugs for this indication. Since the majority of our efforts in 2020 will be focused on supportive nonclinical studies, we do not currently expect to meaningfully increase our R&D expenditures next year,” Vicente Anido Jr., PhD, Aerie chairman and CEO, said in the release.
Aerie will make an upfront payment of $10 million to Avizorex under the terms of the acquisition agreement. In addition, AVX shareholders will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on net sales of approved products from the AVX pipeline.