Novartis buying Fort Worth eye-care startup Encore Vision

Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant that owns Alcon, is buying Encore Vision, a Fort Worth startup that has developed a drug to treat presbyopia.

Novartis said Tuesday that the acquisition would add a “first-in-class” treatment to its ophthalmology pipeline, “providing a potentially disruptive innovation to patients in a new therapeutic area of high unmet need and high prevalence.” Terms were not disclosed.

Presbyopia is a hardening of the eye lens experienced by about 80 percent of people over the age of 45, which results in loss of near-distance vision and the need for reading glasses. Encore’s EV06 eye drop, which softens the lens, has shown positive results in phase I/II clinical trials.