Novartis purchases dry eye drug Xiidra in $7.5 billion deal

The deal will see Novartis pay US$3.4 billion (AU$4.8 b) cash upfront with potential milestone payments of up to US$1.9 billion (AU$2.7 b). Novartis will also acquire approximately 400 North American-based ployees associated with the product.According to Novartis, Xiidra lifitegrast ophthalmic solution achieved US$400 million (AU$575 m) in revenue in 2018 and is “well positioned for blockbuster potential”. It is the first and only prescription treatment approved to treat both the signs and symptoms of dry eye by inhibiting inflammation caused by the disease.Xiidra was included on the Australian Register of Therapeutics Goods on 21 January this year, and is also approved in the US and Canada. It has not yet received European clearance, and competes with Allergan’s Restasis dry eye product.{{quote-A:R-W:400-I:2-Q: We look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients -who:Paul Hudson, Novartis}}The deal is expected to strengthen Novartis’ front-of-the-eye portfolio. The company expects the transaction to be completed in second half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. Xiidra, with its unique dual benefits, is an example of the type of innovative advances we invest in for the benefit of patients, Mr Paul Hudson, Novartis Pharmaceuticals CEO said. We look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients. For Takeda – Japan’s largest drug maker – this is its first divestment since its record $62 billion takeover of Shire in January. The deal made Takeda one of the world’s top 10 drugmakers by sales, but also saw its take on large debt.It is currently aiming to dispose of $10 billion (AU$14.3 b) worth of assets, Reuters reports.In addition to selling Xiidra, Takeda has also agreed to sell TachoSil, a surgical patch for bleeding control, to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon for $400 million (AU$575 m).“These initial divestitures represent important steps in advancing the growth strategy Takeda outlined following our transformational acquisition of Shire earlier this year,” Takeda president and CEO Mr Christophe Weber said. More reading:Novartis announces results, company ready to spin-off AlconDry eye set to fuel eyecare explosion