CAMBRIDGE, England, April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Altacor has concluded an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Ophthalmopharma for the Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) nutritional product EYEBAR(R). This is the second in a series of transactions between Altacor and Ophthalmopharma in which Altacor will assume responsibility for their entire portfolio of ophthalmic products covering development, IP and commercialisation of the products.
EYEBAR (R) is a chocolate based nutraceutical which overcomes the palatability problems associated with traditional AREDS nutritional products for AMD. Easy and pleasant to eat, the antioxidant rich bar, based on a vitamin and mineral mixture (AREDS2 like), has been developed to help slow the progression of AMD. Unlike large capsules or tablets, EYEBAR (R) is taste masked and palatable, even for elderly patients with swallowing difficulties. This feature of the product is expected to improve compliance and thereby effectiveness.
Dr Fran Crawford, CEO of Altacor commented that EYEBAR(R) is a very interesting approach for patients to help mitigate an important and increasingly prevalent condition. The total population of patients with AMD who can experience serious visual loss numbers over 15m in the USA. In addition, up to 15% of patients have difficulties taking oral medications. This product adds a new dimension to Altacor's portfolio and has good potential to build revenues more rapidly and furthers our progress towards becoming a European Specialty Pharma company.
Dr. Patrik Frei, Chairman of Ophthalmopharma said "I believe that EYEBAR is an important addition to Altacors' pipeline and I am confident that this will deliver value to both Ophthalmopharma and Altacor."
Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) occurs in two types "dry" AMD and the more severe "wet" form. Dry AMD accounts for about 90% of cases. It develops gradually and usually causes mild vision loss. One key identifier for AMD is accumulation of small, round, fatty deposits called drusen in the central retina (macular). Drusen accumulate in the retina pigment epithelium (RPE) beneath the macula which thins and dries. Vision loss caused by drusen is related to location and extent of macular thinning and may involve abnormal vascularisation. Dry AMD may eventually develop into the wet form, where the risk of severe loss of sight is much greater.
AREDS (Age Related Eye Disease Study ) sponsored by the U.S. National Eye Institute comprises two studies: AREDS1 (a high dose combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc oxide and cupric oxide) a six-year clinical investigation in 4757 patients which has been concluded and AREDS2 an ongoing, follow-up study utilising a similar formula which replaces beta carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin. The purpose of these large investigations is to evaluate the effects of nutritional supplements on the progression of both AMD and cataract. It was found that the risk of individuals at high risk of progressing to the advanced forms of AMD was reduced by as much as 25% over 5 years by ingesting AREDS1. In the same study, patients with intermediate or advanced AMD showed a reduction in vision loss by up to 19% over 5 years. Following the publication of the AREDS1 study results, further scientific investigations were published demonstrating the important benefits of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
The EYEBAR formulation is closely based the newer AREDS2 formula.
Altacor is an ophthalmic specialty pharmaceutical company with marketed products and a diverse development pipeline. The products are focused in the following sub therapeutic areas: ocular surface disease, ocular anti-infection and glaucoma.
SOURCE Altacor Ltd