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AFT aims to develop antibiotic eye drop

Hand with capsules of eye drops
AFT Pharmaceuticals aims to develop a stable antibiotic eye dro for treating sight-threatening infections. Photo: 123rf

AFT Pharmaceuticals is expanding its product range with a licensing deal to develop a stable antibiotic eye drop for patients at risk of serious eye infections.

The Maxigesic manufacturer estimated the total addressable global market for the product developed by Latitude Pharmaceuticals at US$1 billion.

"We see this as a very worthwhile area to help the treatment of patients at risk of a serious eye infection due to drug resistant super bugs," AFT chief executive Dr Hartley Atkinson said.

"It also offers an attractive global commercial opportunity and is aligned with our recent drive to further build up our research and development pipeline to fuel our global growth aspirations."

US-based research organisation Latitude provided drug formulation development services and proprietary drug delivery systems to the human and veterinary pharmaceutical industries.

The company said the antibiotic was already approved for treating a wide range of medically important bacterial infections including those caused by the antibiotic resistant MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) bacteria.

However, no approved ophthalmic solution for this antibiotic currently existed for the treatment of serious, potentially sight-threatening infections.

"Such extensive off-label use has validated the market potential for this antibiotic for treating a number of important ophthalmic conditions and the availability of a registered pharmaceutical product would enable insurance coverage in the key USA market while avoiding the risk of contamination from compounding operations," Atkinson said.

AFT's planned, product development programme was expected to take three to four years followed by regulatory filings in major markets, including the US, Europe, China and Japan.

The development programme was expected to be funded from AFT's existing research and development budget, which was forecast to be about $12m in each of the 2023 and 2024 financial years.