PARIS (Reuters) - French ophthalmology company Nicox <NCOX.PA> and Chinese firm Ocumension Therapeutics said on Monday they had signed an exclusive licence agreement to develop and sell a yet-to-be approved Nicox drug to treat glaucoma in China.
Glaucoma, which is damage to the optic nerve, is the second leading cause of blindness globally and is likely to increase as the world's population ages, the World Health Organisation says.
The most commonly prescribed treatments for glaucoma include Pfizer's <PFE.N> Xalatan, known generically as latanoprost, Novartis's <NOVN.S> Travatan, and Allergan's <AGN.N> Lumigan.
Nicox, which already has a U.S-approved drug, Vyzulta, to treat glaucoma, is currently developing a second-generation product, NCX 470, for which it has entered in phase II clinical trials.
Under the terms of its agreement with Ocumension, Nicox is to receive royalties from 6-12 percent on net sales of NCX 470 in China. Ocumension is to conduct additional clinical studies for the regulatory approval of the drug in the country.
Nicox will also receive up to 36.25 million euros (32.58 million pounds) in development and commercial milestone payments, including a 3-million euro upfront payment.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; editing by David Evans)