Ciba Vision Ophthalmics and Quadra Logic Technologies Inc.agreed Monday to jointly develop and commercialize photodynamictherapy as a treatment for eye diseases.

The partnership covers Quadra Logic's photodynamic therapy,regardless of the disease or drug used. The first indication thecompanies will pursue is age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Ciba Vision Ophthalmics is part of the Ciba Vision Group, which isa division of Switzerland-based Ciba-Geigy Ltd. Quadra Logic, ofVancouver, B.C., focuses on the use of light-activated drugs to treatdiseases. The companies announced their intent to collaborate lastJune.

The deal involved no up-front payments. Ciba Vision will fund 60percent of development costs, and profits will be shared equally.Ciba is responsible for marketing, Quadra Logic for manufacturing,said David Main, Quadra Logic's director, corporatecommunications and investor relations.

Investigational new drug applications have been filed for the AMDindication in the U.S. and Germany. Eventual endpoints will bepreventing progression of the disease without causing vision loss.

"This is the first of several indications we'll be exploring," Main toldBioWorld. "We identified early on that AMD is one of the areaswhere there is a strong clinical need. And the endpoints were likelyto be very clear. That made it an ideal clinical project."

Quadra Logic's light-activated drug, Benzoporphyrin derivative(BPD), is injected into patients and accumulated, in an inert state, inthe diseased tissue. A light activates the drug, causing aphotochemical reaction that kills the diseased tissue. The processstops when the light is turned off.

Quadra Logic is in Phase II trials with BPD for psoriases and skincancer. Main said discussions with potential partners are ongoing.BPD is a second-generation drug. The first, Photofrin, wasdeveloped to treat certain internal cancers. It is approved in somecountries, and is undergoing FDA review for esophageal cancer. _Jim Shrine

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