ROCHESTER, N.Y. and ATLANTA — Bausch & Lomb (NYSE: BOL) today announced its acquisition of Soothe emollient (lubricant) eye drops from Alimera Sciences, a privately-held ophthalmic pharmaceutical company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Bausch & Lomb will expand upon the Soothe brand’s success, establishing a broader line of professionally-recommended, over-the-counter products to relieve dry eye symptoms. The company will initially focus on two technologies, each designed to target a different layer of the tear film.
Introduced in 2004, Soothe — now renamed SootheXP — was the first over-the-counter multi-dose, emollient-based (lubricating) artificial tear product, offering relief to an estimated 12 million Americans who suffer from dry eye. The SootheXP formulation is unique in that it re-establishes the eye’s protective lipid layer, reducing tear evaporation and sealing in essential moisture, providing up to eight hours of relief from dry eye discomfort. This advanced formula is a meta-stable oil-in-water emulsion — a combination of oils (Restoryl® mixture) and a key interfacial molecule — developed after years of research into replicating the lipid layer of the tear film.
Bausch & Lomb has also begun shipping a new over-the-counter formulation, Soothe Lubricant Eye Drops Long Lasting Relief Preservative Free. In an innovative approach to relieving dry eye, this formulation uses a novel hydrophilic polymer to interact with the eye’s mucin layer. The polymer-mucin interaction stabilizes and rebuilds the tear film by forming a scaffolding system, allowing water and the product’s demulcent active ingredients to be retained on the cornea.
For a recommendation regarding which Soothe product best meets their individual dry eye needs, consumers should consult their eye care professionals.
This transaction follows Bausch & Lomb’s December 2006 purchase of Alimera’s OTC allergy franchise, including Alaway™ (ketotifen fumarate ophthalmic solution) antihistamine eye drops indicated for up to 12 hours of relief for itchy eyes due to ragweed, pollen, grass, animal hair and dander.
“We are pleased that Bausch & Lomb is committed to advancing the growth of the Soothe line, which has been an excellent addition to the market and a good performer for us,” said Dan Myers, president and chief executive of Alimera. “This sale strengthens our cash position, enabling stronger investment and focus behind our strategy of improving the delivery of ocular therapeutics.”
“Our pharmaceutical business continues to grow, due in part to the expansion of our OTC product lines,” said Gary Phillips, M.D., corporate vice president and global pharmaceutical category leader for Bausch & Lomb. “The Soothe brand acquisition further strengthens our portfolio, and provides a first-rate platform for further line extensions in this fast-growing segment of the ophthalmic industry.”
Soothe products will be widely available at retail stores across the United States, with the potential for future international distribution. Packaging will be changed to reflect Bausch & Lomb branding on a stock turnover basis, beginning immediately.
Alimera’s complete divestiture of its over-the-counter portfolio marks the company’s increased focus on improving the delivery of therapeutic agents to enhance patients’ and physicians’ ability to manage ocular conditions — in particular, fluocinolone acetonide (FA) in the Medidur™ delivery technology, an investigational product for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). Alimera Sciences and pSivida Limited (NASDAQ:PSDV, ASX:PSD, Xetra:PSI) have a worldwide agreement to co-develop and market FA in Medidur to treat DME. In April, Alimera and pSivida announced that Phase 3 global clinical trial enrollment for Medidur had exceeded 500 patients.
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About Alimera Sciences, Inc.
Alimera Sciences Inc., a venture backed company, specializes in the development and commercialization of over-the-counter and prescription ophthalmology pharmaceuticals. Founded by an executive team with extensive development and revenue growth expertise, Alimera Sciences’ products are focused on improving the delivery of therapeutic agents to enhance patient’s lives and to strengthen physicians’ ability to manage ocular conditions. For more information, please visit www.alimerasciences.com.
About Bausch & Lomb
Bausch & Lomb is the eye health company, dedicated to perfecting vision and enhancing life for consumers around the world. Its core businesses include soft and rigid gas permeable contact lenses and lens care products, and ophthalmic surgical and pharmaceutical products. The Bausch & Lomb name is one of the best known and most respected healthcare brands in the world. Founded in 1853, the company is headquartered in Rochester, N.Y. Bausch & Lomb’s 2006 revenues were more than $2.2 billion; it employs more than 13,000 people worldwide and its products are available in more than 100 countries. More information can be found at www.bausch.com.
Soothe, Restoryl and Alaway are trademarks of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.