Aerie Pharmaceuticals announced that it has acquired rights to use Envisia Therapeutics' PRINT technology in ophthalmology and certain other assets. The PRINT technology is a proprietary system capable of creating precisely engineered sustained-release products utilizing fully-scalable manufacturing processes, according to a company news release. Aerie intends to use this technology to accelerate the advancement of its pipeline to treat conditions in the back of the eye such as wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. Aerie’s initial focus will be in using PRINT to manufacture injectable implants containing its preclinical product candidate known as AR-13154, potentially in conjunction with the previously announced biodegradable polymer from DSM. In addition, Aerie acquired Envisia’s intellectual property rights relating to ENV1105, Envisia’s preclinical dexamethasone steroid product candidate for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), which also utilizes the PRINT technology.
Under the terms of the agreement, Envisia will receive an initial $25 million in the form of a combination of cash and Aerie common stock with the potential to earn additional payments subject to achievement of certain product approval milestones.
As previously announced, Aerie recently entered into a research collaboration agreement with DSM that includes an option to license DSM’s bioerodible polymer implant technology. DSM’s technology uses polyesteramide polymers to produce an injectable, thin fiber that is minute in size. Preclinical experiments have demonstrated early success in conjunction with AR-13154, including demonstration of linear, sustained elution rates over several months and achievement of target retinal drug concentrations, according to a company news release.
AR-13154 inhibits Rho kinase and Protein kinase C and thus can address vascular dysfunction, fibrosis, and inflammation. This molecule has generated lesion size decreases in a preclinical model of wet AMD at levels similar to the market-leading wet AMD anti-VEGF product, and has generated meaningful incremental lesion size reduction when added adjunctively to the anti-VEGF product. Preclinical studies also demonstrated the promising potential of this molecule to reduce neovascularization in a model of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
“As we continue our IND-enabling activities for AR-13154, we are pleased to further enhance our drug delivery and manufacturing capabilities with the addition of the PRINT platform," Vicente Anido, Jr., PhD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Aerie, said in the news release. "The PRINT technology provides us with a flexible and scalable manufacturing platform to help facilitate our clinical trials for AR-13154, which we expect to initiate within the next 18 to 24 months, as well as access to preclinical product candidate ENV1105 for DME."