Allergan buys AqueSys, a maker of minimally invasive glaucoma surgery products, for $300m+


The deal provides Allergan with AqueSys's minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) device called the XEN45 Gel Stent.  MIGS devices are alternatives to glaucoma medication and more invasive surgical techniques.  The leader in the MIGS area is Glaukos, which closed an IPO in June 2015 and now has a market cap of over $1b.  Its iStent is FDA-approved for moderate to severe glaucoma while the AqueSys device is for mild to moderate patients. AqueSys' device is only 6mm long -- about the width of a human hair --and is injected by an ophthalmologist via a small corneal incision via a pre-loaded injector. Upon implantation it enables the outflow of aqueous from the anterior chamber into the non-dissected tissue of the subconjunctival space. It is intended to reduce intraocular pressure in patients with primary open angle glaucoma where previous medical treatments have failed. The stent has a CE mark for use as part of cataract surgery or as a standalone procedure. It is in a pivotal U.S. clinical trial that was fully enrolled in Q2 2015 under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE).   FDA clearance is expected by late 2016 or early 2017.  AqueSys' venture capital  investors will have  roughly a 3x return on the upfront payment alone.  About $100m ws invested over 10 years by  Accuitive Medical Ventures, The Carlyle Group, Longitude Capital, Rho Ventures and SV Life Sciences.

Recent Allergan M&A activity includes:

  • the sale of its generics brand to Teva for $40.5b
  • the acquisition of depression drugmaker Naurex Inc. for $560m
  • the purchase of Merck & Co. (MRK)’s small molecule oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists to treat migraine for more than $250m
  • the acquisition of Oculeve, a maker of eye care therapies, for more than $125m
  • the purchase of  Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (treatments for double chins) for ~ $2.1b
  • the  completion of its merger with Actavis Plc

AqueSys deal value -- $ milestones for regulatory approval and commercialization.