It’s a “potentially disruptive innovation,” Novartis says.

Novartis plans to acquire Encore Vision Inc., a privately held company in Fort Worth, TX, focused on the development of an eye-drop treatment for presbyopia.

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," Novartis said in a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 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," said Vasant Narasimhan, global head, drug development and chief medical officer, Novartis.

It's estimated that more than 80 percent of adults over the age of 45 develop presbyopia.

Encore Vision's lead investigational product is called EV06, a first-in-class topical treatment for presbyopia. In a phase I/II masked, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study, 50 patients were treated daily for 90 days with topical EV06 and 25 patients with a placebo. EV06 showed a statistical significant difference to placebo in distant corrected near vision at all time points measured. At day 90, 82 percent of participants treated with EV06 had 20/40 near vision versus 48 percent in the placebo group.