ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR:BR), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, today announces that it has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Bicycle Therapeutics to develop and commercialize novel drugs inhibiting a specific target for the treatment of ophthalmic diseases, such as diabetic macular edema (DME). DME is a leading cause of adult vision loss, with a significant proportion of patients failing to respond adequately to existing therapies for this condition.
ThromboGenics intends to develop therapeutics based on Bicycle's bicyclic peptides, which inhibit a target involved in vascular permeability. Selective inhibition of this target represents a new approach that offers the potential to improve the treatment of DME. ThromboGenics and Bicycle will collaborate on the preclinical development of these bicyclic peptide inhibitors.
DME is a common consequence of diabetic retinopathy and a leading cause of significantly impaired vision among patients with diabetes. Globally, 350 million people are estimated to suffer from diabetes (WHO). An estimated 30% of all patients suffering from diabetes for over 20 years are at risk of developing DME.
For many years, the standard of care has been to treat DME with laser photocoagulation to the macula. More recently, it has been shown that injectable intravitreal drugs that inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are effective in the treatment of DME. ThromboGenics has gained an exclusive license from Bicycle to undertake clinical development and commercialization of identified drug candidates.
ThromboGenics will pay Bicycle an undisclosed upfront fee, development and regulatory milestone payments and royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, said: "This new agreement is further evidence of our commitment to develop and commercialize novel therapeutics targeting unmet needs in the treatment of diabetic eye diseases, such as DME. We are looking forward to evaluating these bicyclic peptides, with the aim of progressing clearly differentiated drug candidates through to the next stages of development."
Commenting on today's announcement, Dr Rolf Guenther, CEO of Bicycle Therapeutics, said: "We have used the Bicycle technology platform to identify and optimize highly selective bicyclic peptides that inhibit a target involved in vascular permeability in the picomolar range. I am delighted to enter this collaboration with Thrombogenics, a partner with a focus and successful track record in developing novel ophthalmic therapeutics, and look forward, in time, to progressing drug candidates into the clinic".