Marinomed Biotechnologie, a Vienna-based firm with a focus on therapeutics made from natural sources, sold its antiviral eye drop program to eye disease-focused firm Nicox for €5.3 million ($6.86 million), including €2.65 million ($3.43 million) in newly issued Nicox shares and up to €2.65 million in potential additional cash payments. The eye drop program derives from the Mavirex® platform, which exploits the antiviral effects of polymers including Carragelose® from red algae, a type of seaweed. 

Nicox is getting the program as well as all the related rights, data, materials, and information the France-based company will need to develop an antiviral product for managing viral conjunctivitis. The company plans to conduct clinical studies with the aim of launching a medical product for managing viral conjunctivitis within the next two years.

Carragelose is a polymer from red algae that reportedly demonstrates potent antiviral effects. Marinomed says it currently uses Carragelose in a range of medical device products for respiratory viral infections, which the firm notes have performed well in clinical trials. The company adds it was able to show antiviral activity of Carragelose against three of the most important adenoviruses causing viral conjunctivitis in preclinical studies. 

“Viral conjunctivitis is a medical condition for which currently no etiological treatment exists,” Marinomed CEO Andreas Grassauer, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Our deal enables Nicox to potentially change just that.”