• Novartis
    Cataract/Anterior Segment

    Swiss drugmaker Novartis today announced an agreement to buy an investigational eye drop that softens the presbyopic crystalline lens, possibly restoring accommodation.

    "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, chief medical officer for Novartis.

    Developed by Texas-based Encore Vision, EV06 is a lipoic acid choline ester (1.5%), a potent antioxidant that breaks apart the disulfide bonds in lens fiber cells to increase lens flexibility and restore elasticity. Initial ex vivo and in vivo animal studies have provided proof that topical treatment with lipoic acid choline ester decreased lens protein disulfides and increased lens elasticity.

    In a phase 1/2 masked, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept study, 50 patients treated daily with 1 drop of EV06 showed improved distance corrected near vision at all time points measured, beginning as early as day 8. At the end of the 90-day study, almost twice the number of EV06 patients achieved 20/40 vision or 0.30 LogMAR compared to placebo (82% vs. 48%). EV06 was well tolerated.

    Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.