Visus Therapeutics, Zhaoke Ophthalmology partner on presbyopia drops in Asian markets

Companies are entering an exclusive licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF in three new regions: Greater China, South Korea, and select Southeast Asian territories.

Visus Therapeutics and Zhaoke Ophthalmology Limited (ZKO) are entering an exclusive licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF in three new regions: Greater China, South Korea, and select Southeast Asian territories.

As investigational, preservative-free therapeutics, Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF are designed to serve as long-acting, once-daily eye drops for the correction of near-vision loss associated with presbyopia.

Terms of the new agreement include ZKO being responsible for the clinical development and regulatory approval of both therapeutics in the specified territories, as well as subsequently the commercialization activities for the products, according to a news release.

Additionally, Visus will be granted an initial payment of $15 million, with the potential to receive up to $115 million in regulatory, commercialization, and sales-driven milestones, the release stated.

The company will also earn tiered royalties on future sales of Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF in the specified territories.

In turn—with Visus’s clinical development and plans for its current enrollment of phase 3 studies of the therapeutics—ZKO will fulfill the requisite clinical requirements to quickly bring the products to market.

Ben Bergo, co-founder and CEO of Visus, said the company’s market research indicates high demand for a long-acting, presbyopia-correcting eye drop in China.
 
“..And we are excited to collaborate with [ZKO] to accelerate the clinical development and launch our lead candidates in Greater China, South Korea and select Southeast Asian markets,” he stated in the release.

Dr. Li Xiaoyi (Benjamin), ZKO’s CEO and chairman of the board of directors, expressed the company’s confidence in the potential for Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF to become the best-in-class drugs for presbyopia treatment.

“We will become the first ophthalmic pharmaceutical company in China with innovative drugs in advanced clinical development covering the three major front of the eye diseases, namely, dry eye, myopia, and presbyopia,” he stated in the release. “We will continue to further expand our world-leading pipeline of ophthalmic assets in both the front and back of the eye and advance these promising investigational therapeutics to market in China and beyond as quickly as possible.”

In addition to the new licensing agreement with Visus, ZKO also has clinical development plans to submit a new drug application (NDA) to China’s Center for Drug Evaluation for CsA Ophthalmic Gel for dry eye in the near term; continuing patient recruitment for the NVK002 phase 3 study for myopia; as well as launching a clinical study in China for presbyopia that will correspond to the ongoing phase 3 study of Brimochol PF and Carbachol PF in the US, according to release.