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GEN News Highlights : Sep 29, 2011

Santen Starts Acquisition Bid for 50.55% Stake in Ophthalmic Drugs Firm Novagali

Pipeline is based on drug formulation platforms used in mid- and late-stage candidates against glaucoma and dry eye syndrome.

A number of existing shareholders in Novagali Pharma have agreed to sell shares amounting to a 50.55% overall stake in the French ophthalmic drugs firm to Japanese pharma Santen Pharmaceutical, as part of the latter’s move to take over Novagali outright. The initial €6.15 per share purchase agreement represents a 71.3% premium over the last traded price before the acquisition was announced. If, by the end of the tender offer Santen holds at least 95% of Novagali’s share capital and voting rights, then a mandatory squeeze out of remaining shares will be effected, and stockholders who participated in the initial sale and subsequent tender offer will receive €6.25 for each of their remaining shares.

Novagali is developing drugs based on its ophthalmic drug delivery platforms Novasorb®, a cationic emulsion technology, and Eyeject®, a minimally invasive injectible emulsion platform. The firm’s pipeline is headed by Catioprost®, a Phase II-stage cationic emulsion latanoprost therapy for the treatment of glaucoma, and Cyclokat®, a cationic emulsion formulation of cyclosporine for the treatment of severe dry eye disease. Earlier this month Novagali reported positive data from a U.S. Phase II study comparing Catioprost with Travatan Z® in the treatment of glaucoma. A Phase III pivotal trial evaluating Cyclokat was initiated in Europe in April.

Additional clinical-stage candidates in the Novagali pipeline include Vekacia, an improved cyclosporine A candidate for the treatment of vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and Nova63035, an Eyeject-formulated emulsion containing a tissue-activated corticosteroid prodrug, for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.