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Novartis to Buy Firm That’s Developing Eye Drops for Presbyopia

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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.

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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.

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