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Novartis to acquire Encore Vision as it finds answer for presbyopia

01/02/2017
Novartis is finalising agreements to acquire Texas-based Encore Vision Inc. to strengthen its efforts to treat presbyopia. In a statement released late last year, Novartis explained that it recognised the need to meet the demand in treating the increasing number of presbyopia cases worldwide.
Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis
Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis' global head of drug development and chief medical officer

Encore recently developed a topical treatment called EVO6, currently in clinical testing phase. No price or specific details about the acquisition have been disclosed, pending regulatory approval.

There is presently no available regulated drug or known treatment to prevent the progression of presbyopia. Current therapeutic practice to remedy presbyopia is with the use of corrective lenses however, it doesn't reverse the condition.

According to Mr Vasant Narasimhan, Novartis global head, drug development and chief medical officer, "There is a large need for innovative, effective and safe treatment options for people with presbyopia, and there is currently no disease-modifying treatment available at all,".

"Novartis confirms its leadership in ophthalmology by entering another new therapy area. The addition of this topical disease modifying treatment to our portfolio, if successful, will provide affected people with a new option to improve and maintain their vision and quality of life," Narasimhan added.

Encore's EVO6 is an experimental product currently undergoing a series of clinical tests. Initial results were very promising according to reports, where it showed significant improvement in 82% of the 50 test subjects treated with the drug for 90 days. It has already passed the initial FDA Phase 2 clinical tests with US patents approved and foreign patents pending.

Presbyopia is becoming a health concern with around 80% of adults above 45 years old suffering from it. It affects a person's ability to focus on nearby objects, thus hampering regular activities like reading or operating machinery.

There are around 1.8 billion people worldwide affected by presbyopia, where an estimated 100 million are in the United States.

Another study published by the American Academy of Opthalmology reported that potential productivity loss due to uncorrected and under-corrected presbyopia was at US$11.02 billion in 2011 in the United States alone. The amount is equivalent to 0.016% of global GDP.

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