2022-04-14| China

Backed by RTW, LENZ Therapeutics Inks $110 Vision Loss Pact with China’s JIXING

by Joy Lin
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LENZ Therapeutics, a San Diego-based clinical biopharma has announced a licensing deal worth $100 million with Shanghai-based Ji Xing Pharmaceuticals (JIXING) to develop two candidates for presbyopia. Additionally JIXING backer RTW Investments will invest $10 million in LENZ.    

Under the agreement, JIXING will pay $15 million upfront and up to $95 million in milestones in exchange for development and marketing rights to LENZ’s presbyopia treatments LNZ100 (aceclidine) and LNZ101 (aceclidine + beimonidine). LENZ will also get royalty payments based on future product sales. 


Eye Drops for Presbyopia  


Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects. A natural part of the aging process, most notice it in their early to mid-forties. 

LENZ is developing eye drops to treat presbyopia. Their two candidates LNZ100 and LNZ101 contain aceclidine, a small molecule acetylcholine receptor agonist that makes the pupil contract. This creates a pinhole effect that improves near vision, without leading to a myopic shift and an increase in the degree of nearsightedness. 

Results from clinical trials on the eye drops suggest aceclidine can maintain pupil contraction for at least seven hours, and could correct distance vision. Aceclidine was well-tolerated; the most common side effect is mild discomfort when the eye drop is applied. 

LENZ is conducting INSIGHT, a clinical trial that will pave the way for a Phase 3 scheduled in the later half of 2022. 

“Age-related ophthalmic diseases are a growing challenge in China, with an estimated 440 million patients suffering from presbyopia,” said Joseph Romanelli, CEO of JIXING. “We have built a portfolio in presbyopia and dry eye disease and will continue to expand into more critical ophthalmic disease areas.

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