Belgium’s ThromboGenics has entered into an agreement with the UK’s Bicycle Therapeutics to develop drugs to treat eye diseases, notably diabetic macular edema.

Specifically, ThromboGenics intends to develop therapeutics based on Bicycle’s bicyclic peptides, which inhibit a target involved in vascular permeability. The company says that selective inhibition of this target “represents a new approach that offers the potential to improve the treatment of DME”.

The Leuven-headquartered group will pay Bicycle, which is based in Cambridge, an undisclosed upfront fee, development and regulatory milestone payments and royalties. Patrik De Haes, ThromboGenics chief executive, said the agreement “is further evidence of our commitment to develop and commercialise novel therapeutics targeting unmet needs in the treatment of diabetic eye diseases”.

In October last year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved ThromboGenics’ Jetrea (ocriplasmin) for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion and it was launched in January. Approval in Europe, where Jetrea, is licensed to Novartis’ Alcon unit, came in March and the partners intend to share the costs equally of developing the treatment for a number of new vitreoretinal indications.