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A busy week for Allergan
DUBLIN, Ireland—Allergan plc has announced the successful completion of its acquisition of medical device company AqueSys Inc., which is specializing in the development of ocular implants that can reduce the intraocular pressure (IOP) associated with glaucoma. Allergan acquired the Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based company in an all-cash transaction, which included a $300-million upfront payment and potential regulatory approval and commercialization milestone payments related to XEN45, AqueSys' lead development product.
"The acquisition of AqueSys and XEN45 is highly complementary to our leadership position in eye care and underscores our commitment to develop and commercialize treatments that advance care and add value for ophthalmologists and their patients," Brent Saunders, CEO and president of Allergan, said in a press release. "The treatment of glaucoma is increasingly shifting to dropless therapies given the challenges of patient compliance. The XEN45 device provides a minimally invasive approach to lowering IOP for physicians and their patients seeking new ways to treat glaucoma that go beyond conventional eye drop treatments."
XEN45 is a soft shunt used in minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries that is implanted in the anterior chamber of the eye in a procedure using a single-use, pre-loaded injector. The proprietary XEN45 technology supports aqueous fluid flow to lower IOP while protecting against the potential for low IOP, also known as hypotony, which is associated with the current subconjunctival procedures. The product has received a CE mark in the European Union, and is indicated in that region for the reduction of intraocular pressure in patients with primary open angle glaucoma who have failed to see benefit from previous medical treatments. The CE mark also allows XEN45 to be used as treatment in conjunction with a cataract procedure. U.S. approval is expected late in 2016 or early in 2017.
"In my glaucoma patients, I see a tremendous need for products that can help improve the process and compliance of treatment, in a minimally invasive way," commented Dr. Ike Ahmed, of the University of Toronto. "XEN45 provides just that – a minimally invasive procedure that helps to lower IOP effectively while minimizing the need for patients to remember, and be compliant with, their treatment. It's an important innovation for the glaucoma treatment community."
Allergan also announced another boost to its product portfolio with the launch of the over-the-counter artificial tear REFRESH OPTIVE Gel Drops, a new aqueous gel meant to offer a more viscous artificial tear option for patients with dry eye symptoms. Its shear-thinning effect spreads quickly and evenly over the surface of the eye to provide relief while also shielding the surface of the eye from hypertonic stress. A multicenter, double-masked, randomized study in dry eye patients found that the artificial tears showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms by day 30.