Glaucoma, International, News, Therapies

AbbVie and iSTAR Medical form glaucoma treatment alliance

Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie and Belgium medical technology manufacturer iSTAR Medical have announced a strategic alliance to further develop and commercialise iSTAR Medical’s MINIject, a minimally invasive glaucoma surgical (MIGS) device for patients with glaucoma.

The deal will support iSTAR Medical’s development and commercial efforts for MINIject, as well as provide an opportunity to expand AbbVie’s eyecare business, building on its glaucoma portfolio which includes drops, sustained release implants, and stent offerings.

MINIject received Conformité Européenne (CE) marking approval to commercialise in European countries in the last quarter of 2021 and launched commercially in select European countries in early 2022.

iSTAR Medical is currently enrolling a US premarket approval study (STAR-V) to enable commercialisation in the US.

The company’s CEO Mr Michel Vanbrabant said the alliance announcement is validation of the transformational role of MINIject in the treatment of glaucoma.

“Our commitment has always been to enable more glaucoma patients globally to be treated effectively in a minimally-invasive manner with our MINIject MIGS device, and this alliance accelerates that goal, especially in the United States,” he said.

“We will benefit from AbbVie’s strong global experience and knowledge base already established in glaucoma, and we are excited to be working with such a world class team.”

Dr Michael Robinson, vice president, global therapeutic area head of eye care at AbbVie, said the alliance with iSTAR Medical is an important step in continuing to be an innovator in glaucoma “by maximising the value of interventional approaches throughout the treatment paradigm.”

“As a leading company in eyecare with a commitment to a broad and diverse portfolio from the front to the back of the eye, along with our global footprint and infrastructure in glaucoma, we are well-positioned to support bringing this MIGS offering to patients and glaucoma specialists through this strategic alliance,” he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, iSTAR Medical will receive a $60 million (AU$85 m) non-dilutive upfront payment and will continue to develop and commercialise MINIject until completion of the STAR-V clinical study.

AbbVie will hold the exclusive right to acquire iSTAR Medical and lead subsequent global development and commercialisation of the MINIject device.

If AbbVie exercises the right to acquire iSTAR, the stockholders of iSTAR Medical would also be eligible to receive additional contingent payments of up to $475 m (AU$678 m) in a closing payment and upon achievement of certain predetermined milestones.

iSTAR Medical will remain an independent company through the completion of the STAR-V study. This financing will support the continued development and commercialisation of MINIject, including ongoing clinical studies and further enhancements to the technology.

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