DURHAM, N.C. – Inspire Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay $13 million up front and $19 million more later for the licensing rights to a proposed eye infection drug.

Inspire (NASDAQ: ISPH) said Friday morning it had bought the U.S. and Canadian rights to the drug known as AzaSite. It is being developed by InSite Vision, which is based in California.

AzaSite has yet to win Food and Drug Administration approval, and Inspire’s payments are contingent on the FDA decision.

The FDA is reviewing the drug as a treatment for bacterial conjunctivitis.

Inspire also will pay InSite a royalty rate of 20 percent for the first two years and 25 percent in future years.

“The addition of AzaSite to our late-stage product portfolio leverages our therapeutic focus in ophthalmology, builds on the capabilities of our commercial organization and provides a sizable near-term revenue opportunity,” Inspire Chief Executive Officer Christy Shafder said in a statement. “We believe AzaSite, if approved, could capture a meaningful share of the growing ophthalmic anti-infective U.S. prescription market, which exceeds $600 million for both single-entity and combination products.”

The FDA review of AzaSite is expected to be completed by April 30, and if it wins approval the drug would go on sale the second half of this year, Shaffer added.
Inspire already markets and sells two other eye drug treatments in partnership with Allegran.

The company recently filed additional information with the FDA in its continued efforts to secure FDA approval for its own drye-eye drug candidate called Prolacria. Inspire has said it anticipates receiving an update from the FDA before the end of February.