Astellas Pharma announced a $5.9 billion acquisition of Iveric Bio to expand its ophthalmology portfolio Sunday.

In a press release, Astellas said the Iveric acquisition fits into the company’s forward-looking research and development strategy. One of the five primary focus areas for the Japanese pharmaceutical company is blindness and regeneration, which makes Iveric a key investment opportunity.

The New Jersey-based biotech announced in February that the Food and Drug Administration accepted its New Drug Application for avacincaptad pegol (ACP). The investigational drug is a complement C5 inhibitor for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA), the leading cause of blindness, secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Of note, ACP has a PDUFA target date of August 19.

“Iveric Bio has promising programs including ACP, an important program for GA secondary to AMD, and capabilities across the entire value chain in the ophthalmology field,” Astellas CEO Naoki Okamura said in a statement. We believe that this acquisition will enable us to deliver greater VALUE to patients with ocular diseases at high risk of blindness.”

Astellas added that the Iveric acquisition is slated to contribute to the company’s fiscal year 2025 revenue targets. The company also acknowledged that in light of a looming patent cliff this decade, ACP in conjunction with fezolinetant and padcev could become revenue-generating pillars to offset the declining sales of Xtandi.

The nearly $6 billion deal is subject to approval by Iveric’s shareholders as well as other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The acquisition is expected to close in Q3 2023.

“The opportunity to create a worldclass 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,” said Iveric Bio president Pravin U. Dugel, MD in a statement.

Astellas unveiled the deal shortly before it announced that a Phase 3 trial of Xtandi and Pfizer’s Leuprolide reduced the risk of metastasis in prostate cancer.

The transaction also comes nearly three months after Astellas debuted its 30-second Super Bowl spot to promote its menopause awareness campaign.