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Aerie Pharma's combo eye drug succeeds, shares soar

(Reuters) - Drug developer Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc said its single-drop eye treatment was shown to be superior to each of its two components in a mid-stage trial, sending its shares up by about 24 percent in premarket trading.

The drug, Roclatan, combines Aerie's other experimental glaucoma drug Rhopressa with the approved latanoprost.

Patients treated with the drug experienced a significant reduction in fluid pressure inside the eye, compared with those treated with either latanoprost or Rhopressa.

Glaucoma is a condition in which increased eye pressure could damage the optic nerve and lead to blindness, if left untreated.

Aerie Pharma said it would immediately start preparing for Roclatan's late-stage trial.

It is also preparing to start a late-stage trial for Rhopressa early in the third quarter.

The company's shares closed at $21.03 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Amrutha Penumudi; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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