Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced it will make its first milestone payment to ForSight VISION4, Inc. as part of an exclusive license agreement to develop the company's investigational drug delivery device, designed to provide sustained delivery of Lucentis® (ranibizumab).
“The license agreement with ForSight VISION4 represents part of our ongoing strategy to support the retinal community by innovating and discovering new ways to help people with sight-threatening illnesses.”
Genentech and Roche entered into an agreement with ForSight VISION4 in December 2010 for exclusive worldwide rights to the company's proprietary implantable ocular device in the development and commercialization of anti-VEGF-A targeted ophthalmic therapies. This first undisclosed milestone payment is based on Genentech's decision to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for clinical testing of the device in combination with Lucentis. Currently, Lucentis, which is indicated for treatment of certain eye diseases, is recommended to be administered by monthly injections to the eye.
"This development reflects Genentech's commitment to ophthalmology and investigating new technologies that may potentially provide sustained delivery of Lucentis and reduce the frequency of injections," said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head, Global Product Development. "The license agreement with ForSight VISION4 represents part of our ongoing strategy to support the retinal community by innovating and discovering new ways to help people with sight-threatening illnesses."
The agreement provides Genentech with the opportunity to apply the device to other select targets for treatment of ophthalmic diseases. Genentech is responsible for clinical development and commercialization and is currently collaborating with ForSight VISION4 in the manufacturing and engineering of the device. ForSight VISION4 is entitled to undisclosed milestone payments and royalties on potential future sales.
"The ForSight VISION4 technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we treat ophthalmic disease," said Eugene de Juan, Jr., M.D., founder of ForSight VISION4, Inc. "Genentech is an ideal partner given their long-term clinical experience with Lucentis and pioneering work in the anti-VEGF therapeutic space."
The device is a refillable drug port delivery system (PDS) designed to release Lucentis over a period of months.
Lucentis is currently FDA-approved to treat two eye conditions that can potentially lead to vision loss and blindness: neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which affects an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults over the age of 50, and macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO), which affects more than 1 million people in the U.S.