UoM spinout Link Biologics Limited and Théa Open Innovation have announced that they have entered into an agreement to co-develop Link_TSG6 for the treatment of Dry Eye Disease (DED) and other ophthalmology indications, worldwide (excluding Asia)

Link_TSG6 is a biological drug based on human TSG-6, a protein that has an intrinsic role to protect tissues from inflammatory damage. Link_TSG6 has been shown to have potent disease modifying properties in various preclinical models, including models of Dry Eye Disease.

Comparison illustration between normal and dry eye. Cross section of eye surface.

Comparison illustration between normal and dry eye. Cross section of eye surface.

Link Biologics was spun-out from the University of Manchester Innovation Factory in 2021, based on the research of Professor Tony Day and Doctor Caroline Milner, who are both co-founders of the company.

Under the terms of the exclusive license and co-development agreement, in parallel with an equity investment from Théa Open Innovation, Link Biologics will be responsible for all DED research and development up to the end of Phase 2 trials, with Théa taking over responsibilities, including commercialisation, thereafter. Link Biologics will receive an upfront payment (undisclosed) and reimbursement of research and development costs and is also eligible to receive up to £216 million, based on development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. The deal additionally includes tiered royalties on future net sales of Link_TSG6 products within the ophthalmology field.

Reuben Dawkins, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Link Biologics said:

“At Link Biologics we have a mission to set a new standard of care and transform outcomes for people living with inflammatory and tissue degenerative disorders.  Partnering with Théa, a leader in ophthalmology products with a wealth of expertise in preservative-free eye drops, reinforces the value of our asset and accelerates our journey to reach those in need. We are extremely excited to commence this partnership.”

Jean-Frédéric Chibret, President of Théa Group, added:

“This collaboration showcases Théa’s dedication to delivering therapeutic solutions for dry eye conditions, addressing a significant unmet medical need. We are thrilled to partner with Link Biologics, an innovative company led by an expert founding team, presenting a biological drug that we see as highly promising. This aligns with our mission to provide cutting-edge ophthalmic solutions to eye care specialists and patients.”

Professor Tony Day, Chief Scientific Officer of Link Biologics said:

“There remains a desperate need for treatments that significantly improve the signs and symptoms of Dry Eye Disease. With Théa on board we are now focused on advancing Link_TSG6 towards first in human trials. It would be tremendously rewarding if, one day, we were to see Link_TSG6 ‘at the bedside’ and truly making a difference to the lives of DED and other patients.”

Link Biologics was advised by Fieldfisher, with assistance from partners Sam Jardine and Janita Good, and Vicky Reinhardt and Josh Cronin.  Théa Open Innovation was advised by Dentons with assistance from Emmanuelle de Schepper and Christopher Winn.