Valeant to buy Eyetech

Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:21am EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc VRX.TO VRX.N said on Monday it had agreed to buy closely held Eyetech Inc, a deal that will expand the acquisitive Canadian drug maker's presence in the ophthalmology business.

Valeant did not disclose the value of the deal but said in a statement it included an unspecified upfront payment and possible future milestones totaling "significantly less than two times sales." The Florida-based company's sales were not disclosed.

The deal is expected to contribute to earnings immediately.

In January, Valeant withdrew its sweetened takeover bid for Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc ISTA.O, another eye medication maker, citing a lack of progress in talks with management.

The company said then that it was attracted to opthalmology products in part because patients tend to pay for the drugs out of pocket or with private insurance, reducing the company's exposure to risks associated with U.S. health reform. Valeant said it already had a $25 million to $30 million opthalmology business.

Valeant has been on the acquisition trail since its 2010 takeover by Biovail Corp, Canada's largest publicly owned pharmaceutical company, which assumed the Valeant name.

Earlier in February, the company bought Brazil's Probiotica Laboratorios Ltd for about $86 million, boosting the Canadian company's presence in the sports food supplement market.

Shares of Valeant rose 0.5 percent to C$48.33 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting By Allison Martell in Toronto and Shounak Dasgupta in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)