Sirion Therapeutics, Inc., an ophthalmic-focused biopharmaceuticals company, announced today that it has reached an exclusive licensing agreement with Laboratoires Thea of France for the U.S. rights to develop and market a topical ophthalmic gel containing ganciclovir for the treatment of certain viral and superficial eye infections. The product is currently marketed by Thea in Europe under the brand name of Virgan(R).
According to Dr. C. Stephen Foster, Founder and President of Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institute (MERSI), Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, upon regulatory approval, ganciclovir gel would become the first topical ophthalmic anti-viral treatment launched in the U.S. in over two decades. This product has the potential to advance the medical treatment of herpes simplex keratitis. Herpes simplex keratitis remains the leading cause of corneal blindness in the United States.
According to data published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology, herpes simplex keratitis affects up to 500,000 people in the United States.
Each year, ocular herpes simplex virus is estimated to affect approximately 50,000 people in the United States, arising as acute primary disease in 20,000 people and as recurrent disease in an additional 28,000.