ThromboGenics and partner Novartis have got the green light from regulators in Europe for Jetrea for an age-related progressive, sight-threatening condition.

The European Commission has approved Jetrea (ocriplasmin) for the treatment of vitreomacular traction (VMT), including when associated with macular hole of diameter less than or equal to 400 microns. The thumbs-up triggers a 45 million euro milestone payment to ThromboGenics from partner Alcon, a Novartis unit, and the first sale of Jetrea in the EU will boost the Belgian biotech's bank balance by a further 45 million euros.

It is estimated that 250,000-300,000 patients in Europe alone suffer from this condition and currently the only available treatment in the EU is 'observation' or 'watchful waiting' until a patient becomes a surgical candidate. However, ThromboGenics said that for many patients this is not a suitable option, as irreversible damage to the retina may have already occurred.

Jetrea was approved in October last year in the USA, where ThromboGenics have retained the rights. Last week, the latter announced its financials for 2012 which showed that revenues reached 75.1 million euros, compared with 2.5 million euros in 2011. Net profit was 30.4 million euros, compared with a year-earlier loss of 21.6 million euros.

Chief executive Patrik De Haes said "the past 12 months have been the most important period in ThromboGenics' history". He added that the recent launch of Jetrea "has completed our transformation into a profitable fully integrated company".