Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AERI), an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of patients with open-angle glaucoma, retina diseases and other diseases of the eye, and DSM Biomedical, Inc., a global solutions provider in biomedical science and regenerative medicine, today reported that they have expanded their collaborative research, development, and license agreement.
In July 2017, Aerie announced that it had entered into a research collaboration and license option agreement with DSM for purposes of evaluating the sustained delivery of certain Aerie compounds using DSM’s bioerodible polyesteramide polymer technology. The initial focus has been on retinal diseases such as wet AMD (wet age-related macular degeneration) and DME (diabetic macular edema). Promising preclinical results have been obtained with polyesteramide-based implants containing AR-13503, an Aerie-owned preclinical small molecule, and Aerie expects to file an IND (Investigational New Drug) application in early 2019. AR-13503 inhibits Rho kinase and Protein kinase C and thus has the potential to address vascular dysfunction, fibrosis and inflammation in retinal diseases. When formulated as a sustained-release implant using DSM’s bioerodible polyesteramide polymer technology, AR-13503 may reduce treatment burden by allowing for intravitreal injection approximately every six months. In preclinical models of wet AMD and proliferative diabetic retinopathy, this molecule has shown a reduction of lesion size at levels consistent with the market-leading anti-VEGF product containing aflibercept. Additionally, when used additively to aflibercept, further improvements in lesion size reduction have been observed. Pending additional studies, AR-13503 and related compounds may have the potential to provide an entirely new mechanism of action to treat these diseases.
The expanded agreement with DSM provides for the following:
- Aerie will immediately have a worldwide exclusive license for all ophthalmic indications to DSM’s polyesteramide polymer technology for an unlimited number of compounds.
- Aerie and DSM will continue collaborative research activities through the end of 2020, including the transfer of DSM’s formulation technology to Aerie during that time.
- Aerie will gain access to DSM’s preclinical stage latanoprost implant with the potential for initial clinical studies in glaucoma patients in 2019. This implant may potentially be inserted via subconjunctival or intracameral injection, utilizing Aerie’s PRINT® technology license to allow Aerie to manufacture these implants.
Aerie paid $6.0 million to DSM upon signing of the expanded agreement, with an additional $9.0 million payable to DSM through the end of 2020. Further payments to DSM are contingent upon Aerie’s achievement of various clinical and regulatory development milestones, and if products are commercialized under this collaborative agreement, Aerie would also pay royalties to DSM.
“This expanded agreement with DSM opens up many new opportunities to Aerie as we continue to innovate with new drugs and technologies to potentially treat many diseases of the eye, far beyond our current priority of moving AR-13503 into the clinic next year. For Aerie, this is a platform upon which we can build our innovative sustained release strategies for many ophthalmic diseases, including glaucoma,” said Vicente Anido, Jr., Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Aerie.
“We are very excited that we have expanded our partnership with Aerie, a company that is widely recognized as a leading company in the development of new ophthalmology medicines that have the potential to brighten the lives of many patients,” said Marc Hendriks, Ph.D., Head of Strategy & Alliances at DSM Biomedical. “Moreover, it is a validation of the enabling value our bioerodible polyesteramide polymer brings in the development of innovative sustained release products; a platform technology that we can extend to other disease areas.”