ThromboGenics NV has announced that it has signed a global and exclusive license agreement with Galapagos NV to develop and commercialize integrin antagonists for the treatment of diabetic eye disease. The license agreement will give ThromboGenics access to a collection of integrin antagonists developed by Galapagos. Research to-date suggests that integrin antagonists could play an important role in the treatment of back of the eye diseases, including diabetic eye diseases.
Initially, ThromboGenics intends to further explore and characterize the integrin antagonists that it has in-licensed from Galapagos using a number of well validated preclinical models of diabetic eye disease. ThromboGenics believes that by gaining access to these molecules, it has the potential to develop a novel small molecule integrin antagonist which could be used to treat a broad range of patients with diabetic retinopathy, with or without diabetic macular edema.
ThromboGenics has designated the most advanced of these integrin antagonist drug candidates as THR-687. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are about 415 million people with diabetes worldwide and this number is expected to double over the next 20 years. One in three diabetics will develop diabetic retinopathy at some stage in his or her lifetime. As a result, the market for new treatments for diabetic retinopathy is expected to be one of the fastest growing segments of the ophthalmic medicines market.
Over the period to 2023 this market segment is forecast to grow at over 16% per annum from $1.6 billion to $4.2 billion, which is about double the growth rate of the overall ophthalmology market. Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics, comments: “We are pleased to have signed this in-licensing deal with Galapagos which will provide us with access to a collection of integrin antagonists, an exciting class of drugs being developed for back of the eye disease. This deal is a further important step in our goal to build one of the industry’s leading pipelines targeting diabetic eye disease based on novel disease modifying compounds.
Diabetic eye disease is the fastest growing segment of the overall ophthalmology market, and the number of patients needing improved treatment options for both diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.” Onno van de Stolpe, CEO of Galapagos, said: “We believe that ThromboGenics is a great partner for this collection of integrin antagonists that we have developed.
ThromboGenics has shown thorough understanding of the back of the eye disease in the pre-clinical models that they have developed, in order to assess these potential drug candidates for both diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. We are looking forward to watching their progress.” Under the terms of the agreement, ThromboGenics will pay a €1 million upfront technology-transfer payment to Galapagos.
Galapagos will also be entitled to receive certain development and commercial milestone payments plus royalties based on any future annual net sales of products that originated from its library of integrin antagonists.