Published in Pipeline

Théa Open Innovation, Link Biologics partner on DED drug

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Théa Open Innovation and Link Biologics Limited are collaborating on the development of a biological-based drug for the treatment of dry eye disease (DED): Link_TSG6.

Refresh me on these companies.

Théa Open Innovation, a sister company of Laboratoires Théa, identifies, evaluates, and supports eyecare developments via establishing license agreements and/or capital investments with key strategic partners.

Link Biologics is a biotechnology company that was spun out from the University of Manchester in 2021; its lead development program is for Link_TSG6 (for DED), with a second program on Link_TSG6 focusing onknee osteoarthritis.

What is TSG-6?

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-inducible gene 6 (TSG-6) is an inflammation-associated secreted protein that has been found to have diverse tissue protective and anti-inflammatory properties, garnering significant interest in the research community.

Now this drug candidate.

Based on human TSG-6, Link_TSG6 is an 11-kDa recombinant protein that retains the majority of the functions of full-length TSG-6.

The drug is designed with more potent disease-modifying effects compared to the human TSG-6 as well as superior solubility and stability in solution, according to Link Biologics.

Any pre-clinical data on it?

Indeed … a pre-clinical model study published in The Ocular Surface in 2022 that assessed the therapeutic effects of Link_TSG6 supported its potential as a novel therapeutic agent for treating the signs and symptoms of DED.

When topically administered, it was also noted to have a rapid treatment effect.

Give me specifics on these effects.

The study data found that Link_TSG6 could:

  • Accelerate corneal wound healing
  • Improve tear production
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Preserve goblet cells

Gotcha. So what does this agreement include?

Per the exclusive license and co-development agreement, Théa will provide an equity investment while Link Biologics will manage all DED research and development of Link_TSG6 up to the end of phase 2 trials.

After that, Théa will take over responsibilities, including a potential commercialization.

Any financial details?

Sort of … per the companies’ announcement, Link Biologics will receive an upfront (and undisclosed) payment as well as reimbursement of research and development costs.

The company will also be eligible to receive up to over US $270 million (£216 million), which will be based on development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

Also included are tiered royalties on future net sales of Link_TSG6 products within the ophthalmic space.