September 25, 2014 / 8:06 AM / 5 years ago

Nicox gets boost from strong prospects for glaucoma drug

PARIS (Reuters) - French pharmaceutical firm Nicox unveiled positive Phase III results for its glaucoma drug on Thursday and said, if approved by regulators, the product could reach peak annual sales of over $1 billion worldwide.

Shares in the company shot up as much as 26 percent on the news, giving the company a market capitalization of around 205 million euros ($261.5 million).

Nicox estimates that the drug, called Vesneo (latanoprostene bunod) and designed to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension, could reach peak annual sales of around $500 million in the United States alone.

Nicox said last month it would exercise its option to co-promote the drug in the United States alongside Bausch + Lomb, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

It said Bausch + Lomb expects to request regulatory approval for the drug in the United States in mid-2015 and to launch there in the first half of 2016.

Glaucoma, which is one of the leading causes of blindness, is a condition where the optic nerve is damaged, usually due to a build-up of pressure in the eye.

The late-stage clinical studies measured Vesneo’s efficacy and safety in lowering intra-ocular pressure in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

The studies, which enrolled 840 patients, met their primary endpoint and showed positive results on a number of secondary endpoints, with no significant safety risks, Nicox said.

U.S. drug developer Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc published encouraging mid-stage trial results for its own glaucoma drug in June.

Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by Pravin Char

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