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Astellas to acquire Iveric Bio for approximately $5.9bn

Astellas Pharma has said it will acquire Iveric Bio for approximately $5.9bn, marking a notable boost to its ophthalmology pipeline.

The acquisition will grant Astellas access to the US drugmaker’s lead asset, Zimura (avacincaptad pegol), which was recently filed for approval in the US to treat geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is a major cause of moderate and severe loss of central vision in ageing adults, affecting both eyes in the majority of patients.

GA is the advanced stage of AMD and leads to irreversible loss of vision. It is estimated that approximately 1.6 million people in the US have GA in at least one eye.

Zimura works by targeting the C5 protein suspected to play a critical role in the development and growth of scarring associated with the disease.

The US Food and Drug Administration granted priority review of the drug in February, and if approved, the treatment could be commercialised by the end of this year.

Naoki Okamura, president and chief executive officer of Astellas, said: “We are pleased to reach an agreement with Iveric Bio, a company with exceptional expertise in the R&D of innovative therapeutics in the ophthalmology field.

“Iveric Bio has promising programmes including avacincaptad pegol, an important programme for GA secondary to AMD, and capabilities across the entire value chain in the ophthalmology field. We believe that this acquisition will enable us to deliver greater value to patients with ocular diseases at high risk of blindness.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas will pay $40 per share in cash, a premium of 64% to Iveric’s closing price at the end of March. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

In addition to Zimura, the acquisition will provide Astellas access to a foundation of ophthalmology focused capabilities, including a multi-faceted commercial team, expansive network of three experts in the ophthalmology field, and established relationships with medical institutions.

Pravin Dugel, president of Iveric Bio, said: “The opportunity to create a world class entity with the ophthalmology expertise and capabilities of Iveric Bio and the global reach and resources of Astellas is unique and has the potential to benefit patients worldwide suffering from blinding retinal diseases, including GA.”



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