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Aerie Pharmaceuticals shares jump on FDA approval of glaucoma drug Rocklatan

The North Carolina pharmaceutical company will launch its glaucoma eye drop Rocklatan in 2Q
eye
Aerie is focused on the development of therapies to treat open-angle glaucoma and other diseases of the eye

Shares of Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AERI) jumped in Wednesday’s pre-market session after the US Food and Drug Administration gave the green light to its daily eye drop Rocklatan, which reduces elevated eye pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

The FDA’s approval of Rocklatan comes less than a year after the successful launch of Aerie’s first glaucoma drug Rhopressa (netarsudil ophthalmic solution), which targets the eye’s principal drainage pathway, and was introduced in April of 2018.

Investors were enthusiastic about the FDA’s stamp of approval, sending Aerie shares up 5.85% to $48.50 before the opening bell Wednesday.

Rocklatan to be launched in second quarter​

Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. It is characterized by the progressive degeneration of retinal cells, which results in vision loss and, potential blindness.

The Durham, North Carolina-based pharmaceutical company plans to launch Rocklatan (netarsudil and latanoprost ophthalmic solution) in the second quarter of this year.

“We are in the unique position of receiving FDA approval on a second glaucoma treatment less than a year from the U.S. launch of Rhopressa,” said Dr Vicente Anido, CEO of Aerie. “Together, Rocklatan and Rhopressa give us a broad therapeutic franchise, based on our ROCK inhibitor netarsudil, that addresses many of the needs of clinicians and patients in a wide variety of treatment settings.”

On the back of the FDA’s approval of Rocklatan, the ophthalmic pharmaceutical company announced revenue guidance for 2019 in a range of $110 million to $120 million. The forecast includes the combined net revenues for Rhopressa and Rocklatan.

In other news, Aerie says its net cash burn in 2019 is set to fall between $130 million to $140 million.

Aerie is focused on the development of therapies to treat open-angle glaucoma and other diseases of the eye.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]

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