Novartis announced Friday that it will divest its ‘front of eye’ ophthalmology assets to global eye health company Bausch + Lomb for $2.5 billion.
The sale includes Xiidra, an approved treatment for symptoms of dry eye disease, as well as SAF312 or libvatrep, which is being investigated as a therapy for chronic ocular surface pain (COSP).
As part of the deal, Bausch + Lomb is spending $1.75 billion upfront, with potential milestones up to $750 million for Novartis.
“This transaction will enhance our focus on prioritized innovative medicines to alleviate society’s greatest disease burdens, achieve the greatest patient impact and drive our growth strategy,” Ronny Gal, chief strategy and growth officer at Novartis, said in a statement.
The Swiss drugmaker noted that the deal is consistent with Novartis’ “focused strategy of prioritized therapeutic areas” as the company advances with its restructuring effort.
“Our ongoing portfolio refinement enables us to best deploy our scientific expertise and resources towards priority programs and therapeutic areas, while remaining open to opportunistic development for additional high impact conditions leveraging our advanced technology platforms,” Gal continued.
The deal comes just weeks after Novartis snapped up kidney disease company Chinook Therapeutics for $3.2 billion upfront, as part of its strategy to bolster its renal pipeline.
In addition to Xiidra and SAF312, Bausch + Lomb will also gain access to Novartis’ AcuStream dry-eye drug delivery device. The company has renewed its focus on eye-care products as part of different product rollouts and campaign efforts in recent months.
It’s the first major deal conducted under Bausch + Lomb CEO Brent Saunders, who returned to the company in March. Saunders had previously served as CEO and president between 2010 and 2013.
In a statement, Bausch + Lomb noted that the deal will “complement” its existing dry eye portfolio, which includes MIEBO, a perfluorohexyloctane ophthalmic solution that treats the symptoms of eye disease. MIEBO was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May.“With the acquisition of Xiidra and recent approval of MIEBO, Bausch + Lomb enhances its approach to different facets of dry eye and is well positioned to ensure both medicines reach as many patients as possible,” ophthalmologist Marguerite McDonald said in a press release.