SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Visus Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative ophthalmic therapies to improve vision for people around the world, today announced it has entered into a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with Cella Therapeutics to develop an array of investigational ophthalmic therapies to treat glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), two of the leading causes of blindness globally.1 The company also announced a worldwide exclusive licensing agreement with DelSiTech Ltd, a leader in advanced, biodegradable, silica-based, controlled-release materials, to develop novel drug delivery technology that can help optimize the clinical benefit of ophthalmic therapies.
Under the terms of the agreement with Cella Therapeutics, Visus Therapeutics will advance preclinical development programs targeting elevated intraocular pressure, neuroprotection and neuroenhancement in patients with glaucoma and geographic atrophy secondary to AMD. The licensing agreement with DelSiTech will allow Visus Therapeutics to develop investigational treatments for intraocular administration using a biodegradable, silica-based, sustained-release technology that overcomes many of the limitations of currently available ophthalmic therapies. The DelSiTech Silica Matrix platform has distinct advantages over existing ophthalmic drug delivery technologies where it provides consistent drug release over an extended period of time and dissolves as the drug is released without leaving any residue in the eye. This technology has the potential to help improve patient outcomes and reduce dosing frequency, providing confidence to the healthcare provider that the patient is consistently receiving the prescribed treatment.
“By expanding our portfolio to include investigational drugs for glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration and leveraging this innovative drug delivery technology, Visus Therapeutics is well positioned to develop a new generation of therapies that could potentially change the standard of care for these sight-threatening conditions,” said Ben Bergo, co-founder and chief executive officer at Visus Therapeutics. “This represents a significant step forward in our strategy as we evolve into an innovation-focused ophthalmic company armed with differentiated, patent-protected assets driven by a world-class leadership team.”
These assets complement Visus Therapeutics’ existing development programs, which include BRIMOCHOL™, the company’s lead investigational drug candidate for the treatment of presbyopia, and VTI-003, a preclinical asset with corneal wound healing applications, including post-surgical care and treatment for ocular surface disease. Topline data from the company’s Phase 2 trial evaluating BRIMOCHOL are expected later in 2021, and pending affirmative results, Phase 3 pivotal studies will commence before year end.
This milestone comes on the heels of Visus Therapeutics attracting two of the world’s leading experts in ophthalmic R&D – Patrick Hughes, Ph.D., Vice President of Pharmaceutical Drug Development and James Burke, Vice President of Research. Patrick, a recognized authority in drug development and delivery technology, has close to 30 years of experience gained at Allergan and Glaukos and has authored more than 100 U.S. and international pharmaceutical patents. James spent more than 30 years at Allergan, contributing his expertise to a variety of discovery and development programs including Alphagan® (brimonidine)* and Durysta™ (bimatoprost SR), † as well as numerous ocular neuroprotection, drug delivery, and glaucoma and retinal programs. He holds more than 83 U.S. and foreign pharmaceutical patents.
“The synergistic nature of Cella’s novel, investigational therapeutics for glaucoma and geographic atrophy in combination with DelSiTech’s innovative drug delivery technology has the potential to yield profound advancements in the treatments of these very serious eye diseases,” said Rhett Schiffman, MD, MS, MHSA, co-founder, chief medical officer and head of research and development at Visus Therapeutics. “Our seasoned team of scientists have dedicated their lives’ work to the discovery and development of sight-preserving treatments. The addition of these assets to the Visus Therapeutics portfolio enables our team to harness their collective expertise in pursuit of dramatically improving patient outcomes.”
Capital Markets Day in New York City – August 31, 2021
The Company previously announced that it will host its first Capital Markets Day for investors, analysts and media on August 31, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET at Convene, 530 Fifth Avenue in New York City. The Capital Markets Day will include presentations from Ben Bergo, co-founder and chief executive officer, Rhett Schiffman, MD, MS, MHSA, co-founder, chief medical officer and head of research and development, and Carey Powers, vice president of marketing, as well as key opinion leaders in ophthalmology and optometry with a focus on the company’s clinical development pipeline and emerging advances in the treatment of presbyopia and other ophthalmic conditions. A live webcast of the presentation and question and answer sessions will be accessible under “Events & Presentations” in the News page of the company’s website at www.visustx.com. To register for the event, please visit the Visus 2021 Capital Markets Day registration site.
About Visus Therapeutics
Visus Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company focused on developing innovative ophthalmic therapies to improve vision for people around the world. With offices in Seattle and Orange County, Calif., its lead clinical candidate is BRIMOCHOL, an investigational drug designed to be a once-daily eye drop to correct for the loss of near vision associated with presbyopia. In parallel, Visus Therapeutics is focused on advancing its pipeline of early-stage ophthalmic product candidates with applications in ocular surface disease, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. For more information, visit: www.visustx.com and follow us on Twitter (@VisusTx) and on LinkedIn.
*Alphagan® is a trademark of Allergan, an Abbvie company.
†Durysta™ is a trademark of Allergan, an Abbvie company.
1 Basics of Vision and Eye Health. (2020, June 3). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html#a6