Allergan Pays $95M for ForSight VISION5, Eye Insert for Glaucoma

Allergan, the Dublin-based pharmaceutical company, has agreed to pay $95 million to buy ForSight VISION5 and its in-eye treatment for glaucoma.

The Menlo Park, CA-based biotech makes a ring that rests on the surface of the eye beneath the eyelid, to be inserted by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. The ring releases Allergan’s (NYSE: AGN) glaucoma drug bimatoprost (Lumigan) and treats glaucoma over the course of multiple months by reducing pressure in the eye.

Drugmakers have found an attractive target in glaucoma patients, a population that’s expected to increase 59 percent to 4.3 million by 2030, according to the National Eye Institute. So far, the glaucoma market has been dominated by a group of drugs, many of them generic, known as prostaglandin analogues (PGAs), as Xconomy previously reported.

Bausch + Lomb, a subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX), has one called latanoprost (Xalatan). Meanwhile, Bedford, MA-based Ocular Therapeutix (NASDAQ: OCUL) and Research Triangle Park, NC-based Envisia Therapeutics are like ForSight developing ways to deliver PGAs into the eye over an extended period of time.

Inotek Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ITEK) of Lexington, MA, has its own treatment, trabodenoson, in Phase 3. And Bedminster, NJ-based Aerie Pharmaceuticals has endured numerous ups and downs as it tries to push its drug, Rhopressa, through Phase 3 trials.

ForSight said its new product that Allergan is acquiring, called Helios, showed that it was able to maintain reduced eye pressure in patients during a 12-week Phase 2 trial. About 90 percent of patients were also able to keep the ring in their eyes for six months. A second Phase 2 trial is expected to be completed this year, with a Phase 3 study expected for 2017, according to an Allergan slideshow.

The deal also includes additional payments for the ring once it is sold commercially.

Allergan had a failed bid to merge with drug giant Pfizer earlier in 2016. The last funding announced by ForSight, which was formed out of technology incubator ForSight Labs in 2011, was a $15 million Series C round in 2014 from H.I.G. BioVentures, Morgenthaler Ventures, Versant Ventures, Technology Partners, and Delphi Ventures. Regulatory filings indicate the company has received as much as $50.1 million since its founding.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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