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Pharmaxis is $15 million richer, after the next step in a trial of its diabetes eye drug triggered a big pay-out.

German pharma giant Boehringer Ingelheim is testing Pharmaxis’s (ASX:PXS) BI 1467335 drug to see if it can safely improve retinal lesions for patients with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 20‐74, according to Pharmaxis. Of an estimated 285 million people with diabetes around the world, about a third have signs of the eye disease.

The trigger for the milestone payment was the start of patient dosing in a Phase 2a clinical trial, a 12-week treatment period of 100 patients.

The Pharmaxis-designed drug is also undergoing testing in another Phase 2a clinical trial for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Also known as fatty liver, the condition appears when the liver becomes inflamed and damaged due to a build-up of fat.

Boehringer Ingelheim bought the drug in 2015 — with an upfront payment of $41 million — to study it for the liver condition.

Pharmaxis was up almost 4 per cent on the news on Thursday morning at 26.5c.

Pharmaxis share price moves. Pic: Investing.com
Pharmaxis share price moves. Pic: Investing.com