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GEN News Highlights : Feb 13, 2012

Valeant Pharmaceuticals to Take Over Eyetech

Firm recently withdrew $362.3 million bid for eyecare company ISTA.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals agreed to acquire Eyetech, a privately owned ophthalmic biotechnology company. The firms says will make an up-front payment and also pay milestone fees to secure Eyetech and its treatments for sight-threatening diseases of the retina. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive.

Eyetech currently markets Macugen® in the U.S., the first anti-VEGF inhibitor approved for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). "This acquisition of Eyetech will fit nicely with our existing ophthalmology business, which includes a preservative-free Timoptic in Ocudose and Lacrisert, products obtained through our acquisition of Aton in 2010," states J. Michael Pearson, chairman and CEO. 

Macugen is a selective inhibitor of VEGF-165 and is administered in a 0.3 mg dose once every six weeks by intravitreal injection. While Eyetech markets and sells Macugen in the U.S., Pfizer holds those rights for the drug outside of the country.

Valeant’s decision to buy Eyetech comes less than two weeks after it withdrew its hostile bid for another eyecare firm, ISTA Pharmaceuticals. "As we stated last December, we were not interested in participating in a lengthy evaluation process and we are disappointed that the ISTA team was not willing to fully explore our proposal by January 31," stated J. Michael Pearson, chairman and CEO.  "We continue to be disciplined on our M&A strategy and we are actively working on other opportunities that we believe can create value for our shareholders."

Valeant initially went public with its offer for ISTA in December 2011 after company management snubbed its $314 million, or $6.50 per share, bid. The price was 67% over ISTA’s closing price of $3.89 on December 15, the day before the announcement. On January 17, Valeant upped its proposal to $7.50 per share in cash. It also communicated to ISTA that Valeant believed that it could achieve a price of up to $8.50 per share, assuming that ISTA provides it selected confirmatory due diligence.