Novartis announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Encore Vision, a company focused on the development of a novel treatment in presbyopia.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Novartis, the parent company of Alcon, says the acquisition would add a first-in-class disease modifying topical treatment for presbyopia to the Novartis ophthalmology pipeline, providing a potentially disruptive innovation to patients in a new therapeutic area of high unmet need and high prevalence. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.
"There is a large need for innovative, effective and safe treatment options for people with presbyopia, and there is currently no disease-modifying treatment available at all," Vasant Narasimhan, Global Head, Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer, Novartis, said in the news release. "Novartis confirms its leadership in ophthalmology by entering another new therapy area. The addition of this topical disease modifying treatment to our portfolio, if successful, will provide affected people with a new option to improve and maintain their vision and quality of life."
Privately-held Encore Vision's lead investigational product, EV06, is a first-in-class topical treatment for presbyopia. In a phase 1/2 masked, placebo-controlled proof of concept study, 50 patients were treated daily for 90 days with topical EV06 and 25 patients with placebo. EV06 showed a statistical significant difference to placebo in distant corrected near vision at all time points measured (from day 8); at day 90, 82% of participants treated with EV06 had 20/40 near vision (or 0.30 LogMAR) versus 48% in the placebo group. Near vision of 20/40 allows for majority of near vision tasks in most people.
In 2016, Novartis combined its retina medicines business with the Alcon pharmaceuticals business, now operating as one Ophthalmology franchise under Novartis Pharmaceuticals.