Home Merger / Acquisition Alcon Expands Foothold in Eye Sector with $770 Million Aerie Pharmaceuticals Purchase

Alcon Expands Foothold in Eye Sector with $770 Million Aerie Pharmaceuticals Purchase

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In order to gain access to Aerie Pharmaceuticals’ open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension medications, Alcon announced  that it will acquire the company for around $770 million.

As part of the deal, Alcon will acquire Aerie’s approved drugs Rocklatan (netarsudil and latanoprost ophthalmic solution) and Rhopressa (netarsudil ophthalmic solution). Both are eye drops that help reduce intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

alcon pharmaceuticals

Alcon pharmaceuticals

Rhopressa launched in the United States in 2018 and works by suppressing the enzyme rho kinase, which is known to induce a build-up of fluid in the eyes. One year later, Aerie combined Rhopressa with latanoprost to produce Rocklatan, which achieves a stronger effect by enabling more drainage routes for eye fluid.

The deal includes a per-share price of $15.25, representing a 37% premium to Aerie’s last closing price. The overall acquisition value was calculated using Aerie’s outstanding shares of 49.36 million, as of Monday.

“Aerie is a natural fit with on-market and pipeline products, and R&D capabilities that offer the infrastructure needed to expand our ophthalmic pharmaceutical presence,” David Endicott, CEO of Alcon, said in a statement.

News of the buyout fanned industry interest in Aerie, as the company’s shares jumped 32% to $14.72 a piece in premarket trading Tuesday.

Aside from Aerie’s commercial and mature compounds, Tuesday’s acquisition also transfers several promising early-stage candidates to Alcon. These include three retinal implants – AR-1105, AR-13503 SR and AR-14034 SR – for age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, both major drivers of blindness among adults worldwide. Aerie’s implants aim to strike an optimal balance between infrequent eye injections and tight monitoring of treatment efficacy and safety.

Alcon Continues Foray into Eye Drop Space

The Aerie deal is the latest move in Alcon’s quest to establish a bigger foothold in the therapeutic eye drop space.

In April 2021, the company annouched it had acquired exclusive commercialization rights to Novartis’ Simbrinza (brinzolamide and brimonidine) in the U.S. Approved in 2013, Simbrinza combines the action of its carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist components to lower intraocular pressure.

About Alcon Pharmaceutical.

Alcon is an American Swiss medical company specializing in eye care products with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and incorporated in Fribourg, Switzerland. Alcon began as a US company and its US subsidiary’s headquarters remain in Fort Worth, Texas, where the Alcon division of the company was founded. Alcon was founded in 1947 in Fort Worth as a small ophthalmic pharmaceutical business. Novartis acquired Alcon in 2011 from Nestle for $52 billion. When Alcon was acquired by Novartis, the company’s business focus included surgical equipment, eye drugs and products such as contact lenses and eye drops.

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