A less invasive approach to combating eye diseases focus of preclinical collaboration

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eye, eyes, brown eye, corneaA collaboration between two biotherapeutics companies could lead to less invasive approaches to treating a variety of eye diseases such as diabetic macular edema, according to a company statement. The deal with Belgium-based ThromboGenics is the first major pre-clinical collaboration for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Eleven Biopharmaceuticals.

The terms of the deal will involve using Eleven’s protein engineering platform to optimize drug development to identify a therapeutic selected by ThromboGenics (which has US headquarters in Iselin, New Jersey).

Eleven Biopharmaceuticals will receive an upfront payment with potential for additional payment for reaching development, regulatory and sales milestones. It could also stand to get royalties on potential future sales. In return, ThromboGenics will have the exclusive license to pursue development and commercialization of the novel protein. The companies will work together on preclinical research. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed

Eleven’s lead product, EBI-005, is in Phase 1 development for the treatment of ocular diseases, including dry eye disease. Patient enrollment and dosing has been completed in a Phase 1b clinical study. It expects to have data in the second half of the year.


Among Eleven’s backers are Third Rock Ventures and Flagship Ventures. It’s raised $45 million to date. Reza Dana of the Schepens Eye Research Institute and K. Christopher Garcia of Stanford University School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute are among the founders of the company.

Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness in the US among people aged 20 to 74. In 2010, 3.9 million adults diagnosed with diabetes reported trouble with their vision, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. In addition to diabetic macular edema, it can also cause diabetic retinopathy.

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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