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Alcon to Acquire Aerie Pharmaceuticals in $770M Deal

Through the transaction, Alcon will add the products Rocklatan and Rhopressa and several product candidates.

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Alcon plans to acquire Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on ophthalmic therapies, in a $770 million deal.

Through the transaction, Alcon will add the commercial products Rocklatan and Rhopressa as well as AR-15512, a Phase 3 product candidate for dry eye disease, and a pipeline of several clinical and preclinical ophthalmic pharmaceutical product candidatesThe transaction follows Alcon’s recent expansion into the ophthalmic pharmaceutical eye drop space, including acquisitions of the exclusive U.S. commercialization rights to Simbrinza from Novartis in April 2021 and of Eysuvis and Inveltys from Kala Pharmaceuticals Inc. in May 2022.

“Alcon is passionate about innovative treatments in eye care, especially in core disorders such as glaucoma and dry eye, which have significant patient impact,” said David Endicott, CEO of Alcon. “We have a 75-year history focused specifically on the eye and bring established expertise in development and commercial execution. 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. As we continue to broaden our portfolio across glaucoma, retina and ocular surface disease, we are excited to help even more patients see brilliantly.”

More from the announcement:

“We are excited to be joining Alcon, a recognized leader in eye care. I am so proud of the Aerie team and the innovation we’ve pioneered,” said Raj Kannan, Chief Executive Officer of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “Alcon is the right strategic and financial partner to maximize the potential of Aerie’s commercial franchise and our growing portfolio of pipeline assets. Alcon’s global infrastructure, financial resources, and commercial capabilities will accelerate the standard of care by helping more patients have access to Aerie’s innovative products. I am confident that this combination with Alcon is in the best interest of patients and our shareholders.”

Rocklatan is a fixed dose combination of the Rho kinase inhibitor, netarsudil, and a prostaglandin F2α analogue, latanoprost, indicated for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Rhopressa is a Rho kinase inhibitor indicated for the reduction of elevated IOP in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. In most markets outside the U.S., commercialization rights for both products have been licensed to Santen SA and its affiliates.

The purchase price of $15.25 per share represents a premium of 37% to Aerie’s last closing price and represents an equity value of approximately $770 million. The transaction was approved by the board of directors of each company.

Aerie’s most recent financial guidance for total glaucoma franchise net product revenue is $130-140 million for full year 2022. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Alcon’s core diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2024. The transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to the approval of Aerie’s stockholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Alcon intends to fund the acquisition through short-term and long-term debt.

J.P. Morgan acted as Alcon’s financial advisor for the transaction, and Alcon’s legal advisor was Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as Aerie’s financial advisor for the transaction, and Aerie’s legal advisor was Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.

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