May 13, 2014
1 min read

Santen to purchase Merck’s ophthalmology products in Japan and Europe, Asia-Pacific markets

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Santen Pharmaceutical and Merck have entered into an agreement by which Santen will purchase Merck’s ophthalmology products in Japan and key markets in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Under the agreement, Santen will purchase Cosopt (dorzolamide hydrochloride–timolol maleate ophthalmic solution), Cosopt PF (dorzolamide hydrochloride-timolol maleate ophthalmic solution 2%/0.5%), Trusopt (dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution sterile ophthalmic solution 2%), Trusopt PF (preservative-free dorzolamide hydrochloride ophthalmic solution), Timoptic (timolol maleate ophthalmic solution), Timoptic PF (timolol maleate preservative-free ophthalmic solution in unit dose dispenser), Timoptic XE (timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution), Saflutan (tafluprost) and Taptiqom (tafluprost-timolol maleate ophthalmic solution), according to news releases from the companies.

Santen will make an initial payment of about $600 million and subsequent payments based on defined sales benchmarks.
The agreement hinges on closing conditions such as Santen getting antitrust clearance in Japan and other caveats related to specific markets or regions. The agreement is expected to close later this year.

“Santen is proud to inherit and continue Merck’s formidable legacy in ophthalmology,” Akira Kurokawa, president and CEO of Santen Pharmaceutical, said in the Santen release.

Annual sales of the ophthalmology products covered by the agreement are approximately $400 million, according to the Merck release.

“The decision to divest our ophthalmics business is part of our ongoing strategy to sharpen our commercial focus and improve our operational effectiveness,” Jay Galeota, Merck president for Hospital and Specialty Care, said in the release. “This transaction provides products that complement Santen’s portfolio and is designed to ensure continued access for physicians and patients to these medicines around the world.”

Last year, Merck divested its U.S. ophthalmology business to Akorn Pharmaceuticals. Merck will still sell ophthalmology products in Latin America, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and other markets, the Merck release said.