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Alcon acquires rights to three Sirion products


In the midst of the contentious merger offer from Novartis, Alcon Inc. announced it will acquire the rights to three products from Tampa, FL.-based Sirion Therapeutics Inc.

Fort Worth, TX-In the midst of its contentious merger offer from Novartis, Alcon Inc. announced it will acquire the rights to three products from Tampa, FL-based Sirion Therapeutics Inc.

On Jan. 18, Alcon said it would acquire the U.S. rights to two FDA-approved products-difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion (Durezol) 0.05%, an ophthalmic corticosteroid in drop form for the treatment of inflammation and pain associated with eye surgery, and ganciclovir ophthalmic gel 0.15% (Zirgan), which the FDA approved on Sept. 17 for treating acute herpetic keratitis. In April 2007, the FDA had granted the gel orphan drug status.

The acquisition also gives Alcon nearly global rights, excluding Latin America, to cyclosporine (Zyclorin), an investigational drug being developed to treat dry eye and other ocular surface diseases. The deal is expected to close by the end of Q1 2010, and hinges on customary closing conditions and required regulatory approvals.

"While the potential Novartis deal is certainly an issue for us, our leadership is focused more on continuing to build Alcon's commercial capabilities and research pipeline," MacHatton said. "The Sirion deal is a good example of that, as it brings a currently marketed product in Durezol, the recently approved orphan drug Zirgan that will be launched soon, and a potential dry-eye treatment for our pipeline."

MacHatton declined to say the cost of the acquisitions.

Sirion spokeswoman Erin Parsons said the deal is "totally separate" from Alcon's discussions with Novartis. "We are certain this will not affect the completion of the deal between Alcon and Sirion," she said.

Future of optometry

Western U receives first endowed scholarship

Pomona, CA-Western University of Health Sciences' College of Optometry has received its first endowed scholarship for the education of future eye-care professionals.

Richmond Products Inc., Albuquerque, NM, has donated $20,500 to create a scholarship in honor of Ruth M. and P. Lloyd Powell, who founded Richmond Products more than 50 years ago. Ruth and P. Lloyd Powell are the parents of Lloyd Powell, current company president. Richmond Products makes more than 500 eye exam and testing products.

The scholarship, to be awarded annually to a Western U college of optometry student, will be based in part on students' socioeconomic status and ability to overcome obstacles or make sacrifices to pursue their education. An awards committee from the optometry college faculty will review candidates and award the scholarships.

"I was impressed with the quality of the plan that the college of optometry is implementing to get the school started," Powell said. "I want the school to exist and be fruitful. With an aging population, with children so underserved, there is plenty of opportunity."

College of Optometry Founding Dean Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH, said, "This is incredibly generous of Lloyd Powell, whose scholarship is already making a difference with one our students, Mansi Shah."

Shah, class of 2013, was awarded the first $1,000 scholarship. She emigrated from western India with her family when she was 6 years old.

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