Under the deal, which was announced yesterday, Roche’s Genentech arm will use SurModics’ biodegradable microparticle tech to develop a sustained-release formulation of its wet age-related macular degeneration drug Lucentis (ranibizumab).
The exclusive license also grants Genentech rights to use the technology in the development of other ocular disease treatments in its pipeline. The biotechnology giant will pay SurModics $3.5m upfront as well as potential milestones of $200m.
In addition to the delivery technology, the deal entitles Genentech to use SurModics for both R&D and manufacturing services.
Bruce Barclay, SurModics' CEO, said that: “This agreement has the opportunity to provide both near- and long-term value to SurModics’ shareholders.
“The combination of the up-front payment, R&D and manufacturing fees and contingent milestone payments underscore the unique advantages and power of our business model.”
Lucentis is a monoclonal antibody (MAb) that inhibits the development of the blood vessels responsible for the progressive vision loss that characterises wet AMD.
Although effective in sustaining visual acuity, as demonstrated by the MARINA and ANCHOR trials, the drug must be administered via an intravitreal injection on either a monthly or three-monthly basis.
Such regular injections are obviously not ideal for patients, given that the procedure is not without its risks and can result in painful swelling. This led Genentech to search for ways of minimizing the number of injections required and hence yesterday’s deal.
SurModics’ technology uses bioresorbable, polymeric particles to encapsulate the therapeutic agent, in this case ranibizumab, enabling its gradual release over an extended period of time.
The other advantage of a new formulation will be to allow Genentech, Roche and possibly even sales partner Novartis to derive the maximum possible revenue value from the drug.