VICTORIA, BC–Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. has signed a licensing deal granting Merck Animal Health the worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Aurinia’s patented nanomicellar voclosporin ophthalmic solution (VOS) for the treatment of dry eye syndrome in dogs.
Under the terms of the agreement, Aurinia will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive further payments based on certain development and sales milestones. Aurinia will receive royalties based on global product sales. Merck Animal Health will be responsible for the remaining clinical development and commercialization of VOS for use in the animal health field, while Aurinia retains all human health rights. The companies will share in the final work product and any technical knowledge that may be generated during the collaboration.
“This partnership with Merck Animal Health underscores our long-standing belief that voclosporin has the potential to be effectively used across a range of therapeutic areas, in addition to its primary potential indication for the treatment of lupus nephritis,” said Richard Glickman, Aurinia’s CEO and chairman of the board. “In addition to enhancing dry eye treatment options in the animal health field, VOS has a differentiated product profile with long patent life that has the potential to compete in the multi-billion dollar human prescription dry eye market.”
He adds that while this ophthalmology project will continue to be advanced by Merck Animal Health, the Aurinia clinical team will continue forward with its voclosporin lupus nephritis program, on schedule to begin enrollment for the AURORA Phase 3 trial this quarter.