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Alcon secures the rights to market ocriplasmin outside the US

Deal expected to enhance the Swiss company’s portfolio of innovative eye treatments.

The Swiss eye-care company Alcon, a division of Novartis, has secured exclusive rights to commercialise ocriplasmin outside the US.

Ocriplasmin, a recombinant truncated form of human protein (plasmin), administered through a one-time intra-vitreal injection, could be the first pharmacological treatment for symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) –  a debilitating eye disease – and macular hole.

The treatment is currently under review with the European Medicines Agency (EMA). If approved, it could benefit more than 300,000 symptomatic VMA patients in Europe alone.

Kevin Buehler, division head at Alcon, said: “There are thousands of symptomatic VMA patients who currently do not have an available treatment option. The clinical results for ocriplasmin show improved visual function and that earlier intervention may limit the progression of the disease. Ocriplasmin is a strategic fit for Alcon and is expected to further enhance our portfolio of innovative treatments for the eye.”

The Belgian pharmaceutical firm ThromboGenics retains the rights to commercialise ocriplasmin in the US and a decision on approval is expected from the FDA in the second half of 2012.

As part of the agreement, Alcon will make an upfront payment of €75m to ThromboGenics.