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Glaukos to acquire Avedro

Pioneer in micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) Glaukos has announced it will acquire US-based ophthalmic pharmaceutical and medical technology developer Avedro.

The acquisition is Glaukos’ second of the current calendar year, following its purchase of DOSE Medical in June, as it continues its aggressive expansion across the broader ophthalmic sector.

Avedro specialises in the field of corneal remodelling. Its single use drug Photrexa is used in corneal collagen cross-linking and is the only FDA approved therapy for stopping the progression of keratoconus. The company estimates the treatment could be valued as much as US$3 billion (AU$4.4 b) in the US market.

The company also claims to be developing novel, single application bio-activated topical ophthalmic pharmaceuticals for conditions such as presbyopia, low myopia and post-cataract refractive error. It estimates these therapies have a combined ‘addressable opportunity’ of up to US$23 billion (AU$34 b) in the US alone.

“Avedro is an ideal fit for Glaukos’ core strengths in creating and disrupting ophthalmic markets with novel therapies that address important unmet clinical needs of practitioners and patients,” Mr Thomas Burns, Glaukos president and chief executive officer, said.

“Avedro has in place many of the same strategic attributes Glaukos used to pioneer MIGS, including proprietary paradigm-changing solutions, extensive clinical validation, broad reimbursent and first-to-market status.

“Our combined organisations can possess the essential expertise, scale and reach to maximise these opportunities, drive further commercialisation of Avedro’s bio-activated pharmaceuticals and establish another synergistic and durable Glaukos franchise to fuel potential near-and long-term growth and shareholder value.”

Mr Reza Zadno, Avedro president and chief executive officer, also welcomed the deal.

“Glaukos already has deep customer relationships with the majority of our target accounts, and a large, seasoned field organisation that can unite with our team to accelerate awareness, adoption and utilisation of our novel platform. In addition, Glaukos will bring its extensive clinical and regulatory resources to bear to help advance our promising pipeline therapies.”

Both companies expect the all-stock transaction, which still requires shareholder and regulatory approval, will be completed during the fourth quarter of 2019.

The acquisition is another step in Glaukos’ previously stated plans for expansion. In January, Burns told the 37th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference: “As a company we are seeking to transform glaucoma therapy, and in doing so we want to transform ourselves into a hybrid surgical/pharmaceutical/medical device company.”