Agreement covers U.S. rights for two approved drugs and global rights excluding Latin America for a clinical-stage candidate.

Alcon is purchasing U.S. rights for two FDA-approved topical eyecare products from Sirion Therapeutics. Alcon also acquired global rights excluding Latin America covering Zyclorin™, which is in clinical development to treat dry eye and other ocular-surface diseases.

The two approved purchased products are Durezol™, a corticosteroid for the treatment of inflammation and pain associated with eye surgery, and Zirgan™, an antiviral for acute herpetic keratitis (corneal ulcers).

“The acquisition of these products from Sirion is part of our business-development strategy to gain access to late-stage or approved products that will incrementally add to sales in the near term while also building our long-term pipeline,” remarks Kevin Buehler, Alcon’s president and CEO. “Upon closing, this deal will allow Alcon to capitalize on the U.S. registration approval for Durezol and Zirgan with the existing commercial capability in the United States to maximize the brand development and revenue opportunities.”

Alcon’s deal with Sirion follows two weeks after Novartis made a $39.3 billion bid for Alcon. Novartis already has a 25% stake in the firm, which it picked up in April 2008 from Nestlé for $10.4 billion. As yet, Alcon’s board of directors has not reported its stand on the deal but has voiced concern that Novartis is attempting to circumvent protections put in place for the benefit of Alcon’s minority shareholders. Novartis’ plan is to first exercise its option to buy Nestlé’s remaining 52% share in Alcon. This will give it a 77% interest in Alcon and the ability to unilaterally impose the terms of the proposed merger on the minority shareholders, even without approval from independent board members.

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