ARTICLE | Company News

Inspire, Merck deal

April 11, 2011 7:00 AM UTC

Merck will acquire ophthalmic company Inspire for $5 per share, or about $430 million in cash. The price is a 26% premium to Inspire's close of $3.98 on April 4, the day before the deal was announced. The boards of both companies have approved the deal. Merck said Inspire's commercialization organization will strengthen its ophthalmology business, including the pharma's Saflutan tafluprost, which is under review in the U.S. to reduce elevated intraocular pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The preservative-free, synthetic analog of prostaglandin F2 alpha is approved in several European countries, including the U.K., Spain and Italy.

Inspire's lead product is AzaSite 1% azithromycin ophthalmic solution, which is marketed for bacterial conjunctivitis and is in Phase II testing to treat blepharitis. Inspire has North American rights to AzaSite from InSite Vision Inc. (OTCBB:INSV, Alameda, Calif.). Inspire also co-promotes allergic conjunctivitis drug Elestat epinastine with Allergan Inc. (NYSE:AGN, Irvine, Calif.). Inspire reported 2010 revenues of $106.4 million. ...