Lead resolvin candidate scheduled to start in Phase III during first half of 2011.

Celtic Therapeutics and Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals signed an option agreement for the latter’s late-stage RX-10045 candidate for the treatment of dry eye syndrome and other ophthalmic conditions. The deal gives Celtic an exclusive option to acquire RX-10045 for all eye indications. The firm also has rights to license and develop another of Resolvyx’ resolvin molecules in a topical formulation for eye indications. As part of the agreement Celtic has purchased a convertible note for Resolvyx stock.

 “Celtic Therapeutics brings both the capital and the world-class development expertise to advance RX-10045 through Phase III development and to maximize the potential of Resolvins to treat eye disease more broadly,” comments Jamie Nichols, Resolvyx CEO. “This will allow Resolvyx to dedicate our resources to pursue the exceptional therapeutic potential of resolvins for nonophthalmic diseases.”

Resolvyx estimates the global market for dry eye syndrome is worth some $1.7 billion. RX-10045 is an eye drop formulation of a resolvin therapeutic that is scheduled to start in Phase III development in 2011. The candidate is also in earlier clinical development for the treatment of retinal diseases.

Celtic suggests that despite rapid growth in the market for dry eye products, patients are not happy with current therapeutic options. “With the potential for improved efficacy, a much faster onset of action, an improved tolerability profile, and a strong patent estate, we believe RX-10045, if approved, would represent an important step forward in the treatment of this widely prevalent condition,” suggests Peter B. Corr, co-founder and managing general partner at Celtic Therapeutics.

Resolvyx is dedicated to the development of resolvin molecule drugs for treating inflammatory disorders. The firm describes resolvins as a recently discovered family of naturally occurring, small molecule lipid mediators derived from the enzymatic oxidation of omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike traditional anti-inflammatory drugs that suppress inflammatory responses, however, resolvins act to trigger the body’s natural mechanisms for switching off inflammatory responses, Resolvyx claims. The company says evidence suggests resolvins have the potential to treat a wide range of inflammatory disorders including Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, asthma, atherosclerosis, degenerative retinal diseases, and chronic dry eye.

Resolvyx’ clinical pipeline is headed by RX-10045. A second clinical candidate, RX-1001 is expected to start in Phase II clinical development during the first half of 2011 for treating asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular indications.

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