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$317 Billion Biopharmaceutical Giant Merck to Buy Ophthalmology Biotech Company EyeBio for $3 Billion with $1.3 Billion in Upfront Cash & Potential $1.7 Billion for Development, Regulatory & Commercial Milestone Payments

29th May 2024 | Hong Kong

Biopharmaceutical giant Merck (29/5/24: $317 billion market value) has announced to buy ophthalmology biotech company EyeBio for $3 billion, with $1.3 billion in upfront cash & potential $1.7 billion for development, regulatory & commercial milestone payments.  Merck (29/5/24): “Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and Eyebiotech Limited (EyeBio), a privately held ophthalmology-focused biotechnology company, today announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire EyeBio.  Under the terms of the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire all outstanding shares of EyeBio for up to $3 billion, including an upfront payment of $1.3 billion in cash and a further potential $1.7 billion in developmental, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the EyeBio Board of Directors.  EyeBio is developing a pipeline of clinical and preclinical candidates for the prevention and treatment of vision loss associated with retinal vascular leakage, a known risk factor for retinal diseases. The company’s lead candidate, Restoret™ (EYE103), is an investigational, potentially first-in-class tetravalent, tri-specific antibody that acts as an agonist of the Wingless-related integration site (Wnt) signaling pathway. Based on positive results from the open-label Phase 1b/2a AMARONE study in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NVAMD), Restoret is anticipated to advance into a pivotal Phase 2b/3 trial to investigate the treatment of patients with DME in the second half of 2024.  In addition to augmenting Merck’s pipeline, the acquisition significantly expands the company’s presence in ophthalmology. The EyeBio team and leadership including founders Dr. David Guyer and Dr. Tony Adamis will leverage their experience and world-class expertise as part of Merck to continue their pioneering work to advance the clinical development of Restoret and other ongoing development programs.  Closing of the proposed acquisition is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024 and be accounted for as an asset acquisition. Merck expects to record a charge of approximately $1.3 billion, or approximately $0.50 per share, that will be included in non-GAAP results in the quarter that the transaction closes.”

“ $317 Billion Biopharmaceutical Giant Merck to Buy Ophthalmology Biotech Company EyeBio for $3 Billion with $1.3 Billion in Upfront Cash & Potential $1.7 Billion for Development, Regulatory & Commercial Milestone Payments “

 



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Advisors – Citi acted as financial advisor to Merck in this transaction and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as its legal advisors. Centerview Partners LLC acted as financial advisor to EyeBio and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP as the company’s legal advisors.

About the blood retina barrier and retinal vascular leakage – Several retinal conditions are characterized by both inflammation and breakdown of the inner blood-retinal barrier (iBRB) resulting in vascular permeability and leakage into the neighboring retinal tissue. Vascular leakage is a known risk factor for retinal diseases including diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NVAMD).

About Restoret – Restoret is an investigational, potentially first-in-class tetravalent, tri-specific Wnt antibody designed to address unmet medical need in patients with retinal diseases, including diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (NVAMD). Restoret is administered as an intravitreal injection seeking to eliminate leakage in retinal vascular diseases by agonizing the Wnt pathway with the goal of restoring and maintaining the blood-retinal barrier. Preclinical evidence indicates that agonizing the Wnt pathway in the retina may reduce vascular leakage.

About EyeBio (Eyebiotech Limited) and its Investors – Eyebiotech Limited (EyeBio) is a clinical-stage, privately held ophthalmology biotechnology company dedicated to developing and delivering a new generation of therapies to protect, restore and improve vision in patients with sight-threatening eye diseases. Founded in August 2021 by David Guyer, M.D., and Tony Adamis, M.D., and SV Health Investors, EyeBio has a leadership team with a world class track record in ophthalmology drug development. With operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, EyeBio is building and advancing a pipeline of ocular therapies that combine scientifically robust targets with innovative translational approaches. To date, EyeBio has raised $130 million. SV Health Investors (Kate Bingham, DBE and Mike Ross, Ph.D.) founded and seeded the company in August 2021 and were joined in February 2022 by co-leads Samsara BioCapital (Srini Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D.), Jeito Capital (Andreas Wallnoefer, Ph.D.) in raising a $65 million Series A financing round, with funds from MRL Ventures Fund (Olga Danilchanka, Ph.D.), the corporate venture arm of Merck. In November 2023, the Series A round was expanded to $130 million with the addition of new investors Bain Capital Life Sciences (Leonard Feiner (M.D., Ph.D., and Amir Zamani, M.D.), Omega Funds (Bernard Davitian) and Vertex Ventures HC (Christine Brennan, Ph.D.).

About Merck – At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities.

 

 

$317 Billion Biopharmaceutical Giant Merck to Buy Ophthalmology Biotech Company EyeBio for $3 Billion with $1.3 Billion in Upfront Cash & Potential $1.7 Billion for Development, Regulatory & Commercial Milestone Payments

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