Alcon to acquire Aerie Pharma, expanding ophthalmic pharma portfolio

Latest transaction, totaling approximately $770 million, adds key commercial products and clinical/preclinical product candidates in the pipeline.

Alcon announced Monday that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Aerie Pharmaceuticals.

With this transaction, Alcon will add broader pharmaceutical research and development capabilities to its existing commercial expertise, according to a company news release.

The company will add the following commercial products: netarsudil and latanoprost ophthalmic solution (Rocklatan) 0.02%/0.005%; netarsudil and latanoprost ophthalmic solution (Rhopressa) 0.02%/0.005%; AR-15512, a dry eye disease (DED) candidate currently in phase 3 trials; as well as several clinical and preclinical ophthalmic pharmaceutical product candidates in the pipeline.

This latest deal follows Alcon’s recent acquisitions of the exclusive US commercialization rights to brinzolamide/brimonidine tartrate ophthalmic suspension (Simbrinza; Novartis) 1%/0.2% in April 2021 and loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension (Eysuvis; Kala Pharmaceuticals ) 0.25% and loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension (Inveltys; Kala Pharmaceuticals) 1% in May 2022.

“Aerie is a natural fit with on-market and pipeline products and R&D capabilities that offer the infrastructure needed to expand our ophthalmic pharmaceutical presence,” stated Alcon CEO David Endicott, in the release.

Raj Kannan, Aerie’s CEO, shared similar sentiments.

““Alcon is the right strategic and financial partner to maximize the potential of Aerie’s commercial franchise and our growing portfolio of pipeline assets,” he stated.

Per the company news release, the purchase price of $15.25 per share represents a premium of 37% to Aerie’s last closing price and represents an equity value of approximately $770 million. The transaction was approved by the board of directors of each company.

The most recent financial guidance for Aerie’s total glaucoma franchise net product revenue is $130 million to 140 million for full year 2022.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Alcon’s core diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2024, and is anticipated to close in the 4th quarter of 2022, pending the approval of Aerie’s stockholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Alcon intends to fund the acquisition through short-term and long-term debt.

J.P. Morgan acted as Alcon’s financial advisor for the transaction, and Alcon’s legal advisor was Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC acted as Aerie’s financial advisor for the transaction, and Aerie’s legal advisor was Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.