Bausch + Lomb agrees to buy Ista

MADISON, N.J., and IRVINE, Calif. — Bausch + Lomb will acquire eye drug maker Ista Pharmaceuticals for $9.10 per share in cash, or approximately $500 million.

Bausch + Lomb's said its acquisition of Ista "accelerates the company's strategy to strengthen its pipeline and marketed products and capabilities." Ista's portfolio of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory, allergy, glaucoma and spreading agents complements Bausch + Lomb's portfolio of existing prescription ophthalmology and over-the-counter eye health products, the company said. Currently, nearly all of Ista's current U.S. products are manufactured by Bausch + Lomb, the company said.

The companies will continue to operate independently until completion of the transaction, which is expected to close during the second quarter.

"Ista is an excellent strategic fit with Bausch + Lomb's rapidly growing pharmaceutical business, and this combination represents an important step in Bausch + Lomb's commitment to becoming the best global eye health company," Bausch + Lomb president and CEO Brent Saunders said. "We share a strong overlapping customer base in the United States, a commitment to serving our physicians and patients and a track record of developing meaningful medical advances in eye health. With this combination, we will significantly enhance our pharmaceutical pipeline, nearly doubling the number of mid- to late-stage innovations. We look forward to delivering the benefits of this combination to customers, patients, employees and partners of both companies."

The announcement follows an acquisition offer made for Ista by Canada-based drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Valeant sought to purchase Ista for $7.50 per share in cash but withdrew its offer due to lack of progress.

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