Regeneron and Bayer said today they will develop combination therapies for eye diseases through an additional collaboration that could generate up to $130 million-plus for Regeneron.

The new collaboration will combine Regeneron’s angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) monoclonal antibody nesvacumab with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) trap aflibercept—on which the companies have partnered to develop and commercialize globally under the name EYLEA®.

Last year, EYLEA generated more than $4 billion in net sales. That included $2.676 billion in U.S. net product sales for Regeneron (up 54% from 2014) and $1.413 billion (up 36% from a year earlier) in net product sales outside the U.S., where Bayer commercializes EYLEA. Regeneron recognized $467 million as its share of ex-U.S. net profit (up 55% from 2014).

According to Regeneron and Bayer, preclinical data has shown that angiopoietins act together with the VEGF family to promote the formation and maturation of blood and lymphatic vessels in the eye. Angiopoietins are a family of vascular growth factors discovered by Regeneron.

“Inhibiting the Angiopoietin 2 pathway is a promising new approach for a combination therapy, and we are looking forward to working on it together with Regeneron,” Joerg Moeller, M.D., member of the executive committee of Bayer's Pharmaceuticals Division and head of development, said in a statement.

In addition to EYLEA, Bayer and Regeneron have teamed up on global development of REGN2176-3, the platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta (PDGFR-beta) monoclonal antibody rinucumab co-formulated in a single intravitreal injection with aflibercept. That combination is now in Phase II trials for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration.

Bayer agreed to pay Regeneron $50 million upfront. The companies agreed to share global development costs, with Regeneron also eligible for up to $80 million in payments tied to development and regulatory milestones.

In return, Bayer will have exclusive commercialization rights to the combination product outside the U.S. and will share potential profits equally with Regeneron. Within the U.S., Regeneron will retain exclusive commercialization rights and will retain all profits from U.S. sales.

“This new agreement reflects our shared commitment to being leaders in ophthalmology and to improving anatomical and visual outcomes for patients with retinal eye diseases,” added George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Regeneron CSO and president of Regeneron Laboratories.

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