Merck to Sell Its Ophthalmology Portfolio to Santen

May 13, 2014

Merck says it will sell its portfolio of ophthalmic solutions to Santen Pharmaceutical for $600 million, under an agreement that will let Santen sell the products in Europe, Japan and the Asia Pacific. Santen will make additional payments if it hits defined sales milestones, Merck added.

Santen, which specializes in the ophthalmology field, will purchase various formulations of Merck’s brand products Cosopt, Trusopt, Timoptic, Saflutan and Taptiqom for a two-year to five-year period.

Annual sales of the products in the defined markets totaled roughly $400 million.

“This transaction provides products that complement Santen’s portfolio and is designed to ensure continued access for physicians and patients to these medicines around the world,” said Jay Galeota, president of hospital and specialty care at Merck.

Santen will have to gain antitrust clearance in Japan, due to the scale of their ophthalmology operation in the country. The agreement must also meet closing conditions related to other specific markets or regions, but is expected to close in a few months.

Merck transferred its U.S. ophthalmology business to Akorn Pharmaceuticals in 2013 and 2014. Merck will continue to sell its own ophthalmology products in Latin America, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. — Kellen Owings

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