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Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AUPH) completes a Definitive Agreement giving Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Animal Health the rights to build up and distribute Aurinia’s patented nano-micellar cyclosporin ophthalmic solution (VOS) for treating dry eye disorders in dogs.

In this agreement, the Aurinia will obtain an upfront payment and they could receive more recompense which will be based on some particular development growth and sales milestones. The company would also get royalties basing on the global product sales. In this case, Merck Animal Health will be in charge of a certain section of clinical development and commercialization of VOS that will be used in the field of animal health and at the same time, Aurinia will maintain all the human health rights.

The two companies will jointly share all the activities needed to make the final product and other technical knowledge that could be created during the time of collaboration. According to Aurinia, partnering with Merck Animal Health highlights their ancient belief that VOS is possibly effective in treating a wide range of therapeutic spots in addition to curing lupus nephritis.

Apart from just treating the dry eye symptoms in the animals, VOS also has a more distinctive product profile that includes a long patent lifespan and the likelihood to compete effectively in the multi-billion dollar market for human prescription dry eye conditions. While the Merck Animal Health will continue advancing the ophthalmology mission, the clinical team from Aurinia will focus on the lupus nephritis project, which has entered its third trial phase.

For the past one year, Merck Animal Health has conducted a research in dogs that suffer from the dry eye problems that have an effect on one out of every 22 dogs worldwide. The pet owners could simply miss detecting the early symptoms which could lead to severe irreversible damages to the dog’s vision which causes blindness. VOS is significant in addressing the medical needs in ophthalmology which have not been met by the current treatments in the market.

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