IRVINE, Calif.—In an all-cash transaction of $370 million, Allergan announced it would acquire East Brunswick, N.J.-based Esprit Pharma, a specialist in the genitourinary market. In doing so, Allergan more firmly entrenches itself in the growing overactive bladder (OAB) market, which it has been exploring with Phase II and III studies of its flagship product Botox. Alongside Botox, Allergan hopes to promote Esprit's SANCTURA formulations for this indication by late 2008.
"With SANCTURA XR, which has been shown to be effective while significantly reducing typical side effects such as dry mouth associated with many OAB medications, we are building a treatment portfolio that addresses the continuum of care for OAB and other GU disorders," says David E.I. Pyott, Allergan chair and CEO. "With the operational resources and talent gained from Esprit, we intend to develop in-depth expertise in the GU therapeutic area similar to our other pharmaceutical specialties and further accelerate growth in our U.S. pharmaceutical business."
Regarding the Botox studies, Dr. Christopher Smith, a urologist at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine and leader of one arm of one such study, explained: "If you focally inject [Botox] in small quantities within the bladder, one can reduce overactive bladder symptoms without side effects associated with oral medications. Before Botox, the only option left for a patient with refractory overactive bladder symptoms was to undergo extensive abdominal surgery, using the intestines to enlarge the bladder. This treatment requires a prolonged recovery period and, for the most part, is considered irreversible."