Valeant continues acquisition spree with agreement to snap up Eyetech Inc.

Ophthalmic biotechnology company is dedicated to the treatment of sight-threatening diseases of the retina

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MISSISSAUGA, Ontario—Perhaps one reason that ValeantPharmaceuticals International Inc. decided not to press forward with its hostile takeover attempt of ISTAPharmaceuticals Inc. is because it already had a backup plan for anotherophthalmic-oriented company, in the form of Eyetech Inc., a Florida-basedcompany with which it has signed an acquisition deal, according to a Feb. 13news release from Valeant.
Eyetech is a privately owned ophthalmicbiotechnology company dedicated to the treatment of sight-threatening diseasesof the retina, and it currently markets Macugen in the United States, reportedlythe first anti-VEGF inhibitor approved for the treatment of wet age-relatedmacular degeneration (AMD).
Valeant hasn't specifically stated the purchaseprice, but says that it involves "an upfront payment and potential futuremilestones that total significantly less than two times sales." The transactionis expected to be immediately accretive. 
Although much of Valeant's actions have beenoriented toward building its large dermatology presence, it has also beenworking on growth in the area of ophthalmology. J. Michael Pearson, Valeant's chairmanand CEO, has noted that the eye-care market is a potential $10 billion one, andthat is why it had originally targeted ISTA, as it would have allowed Valeantto expand its annual U.S. sales to more than $200 million from a current levelof less than $50 million—in addition to being a springboard to offeringophthalmology products in Canada, Asia and Australia within a year or so. 
"This acquisition of Eyetech will fit nicely withour existing ophthalmology business," Pearson says of the Eyetech deal, "whichincludes a preservative free Timoptic in Ocudose and Lacrisert, productsobtained through our acquisition of Aton in 2010."
"The ophthalmology market has similarcharacteristics to the dermatology space and is a natural extension of ourdevelopment capabilities," he continued. "We will continue to look for futureopportunities to acquire additional products and gain important critical massin this specialty space."
The Eyetech acquisition is expected to close laterthis week.

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