Sun Pharma to acquire PE-backed ophthalmic firm Ocular Technologies
Reuters | Photo Credit: Reuters

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd has said it will acquire Ocular Technologies from global private equity firm Auven Therapeutics as the drug maker seeks to boost its ophthalmic pipeline.

Sun Pharma will pay Auven $40 million upfront, plus contingent development milestones and sales milestones as well as tiered royalty on sales of Ocular's eye disease treatment drug Seciera, Sun Pharma said in a statement.

Seciera is currently in a Phase-3 confirmatory clinical trial for the treatment of an inflammatory eye disease affecting approximately 16 million people in the US alone, the statement said.

“Coupled with our existing pipeline consisting of BromSite, DexaSite and Xelpros, this initiative will enable Sun Pharma to significantly expand its ophthalmic presence and reach millions of patients globally," said Dilip Shanghvi, managing director, Sun Pharma.

The dry eye disease market is estimated to reach almost $5 billion worldwide by 2020, said Jerry St. Peter, vice president and head, Sun Ophthalmics, the branded ophthalmic division of Sun Pharma’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

Ocular was set up in October 2012 in Switzerland, and its turnover is still nil as the drug Seciera is yet to be commercialized.

The transaction is subject to approval of the US Federal Trade Commission and is expected to be completed by end 2016. 

Sun Pharma, which counts Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and Temasek as investors, has been making some acquisitions and entering new segments in the past months while it has also been shedding some of its assets.

Early in March, Sun Pharma said it will acquire 14 prescription brands from Swiss firm Novartis AG in Japan for $293 million (about Rs 1,950 crore) in a deal that will help the company to establish a strong footprint in the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical market. 

Later in June, the drug maker announced its entry into the dermatology segment with the launch of its sunscreen product Suncros, as it seeks to expand its over-the-counter business.

However, in July the drug maker agreed to sell seven prescription brands in the country to RPG Life Sciences Ltd for Rs 41 crore ($6.16 million).

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