Novartis to Acquire Takeda Eye-Care Drug in Deal Worth Up to $5.3 Billion

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Novartis will acquire assets associated with Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution) 5%, an eye-care drug.

On May 9, 2019, Novartis announced that it has entered into an agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical to acquire the worldwide assets associated with Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution) 5%, a prescription treatment for dry eye that works by inhibiting inflammation caused by the disease, in a deal worth up to $5.3 billion. The transaction would bolster Novartis’ ophthalmic portfolio. 

Xiidra was approved by FDA in July 2016 and had 2017 sales of $259 million. Sales data for the full-year 2018 were not available at the time of this article’s publication. The drug was developed by Shire, which was acquired by Takeda in January 2019.

Under the agreement, Novartis will pay Takeda an upfront payment of $3.4 billion and potential milestone payments of up to $1.9 billion. As part of the agreement, Novartis will be taking on approximately 400 employees associated with the product. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. Upon closing, Novartis plans a smooth transition of operations and integration of Xiidra into its pharmaceuticals portfolio.

Xiidra, with its anti-inflammatory mechanism of action, is the first dry-eye treatment approved to treat both the signs of eye damage and the physical symptoms experienced by patients, according to Novartis. 


"Xiidra, with its unique dual benefits, is an example of the type of innovative advances we invest in for the benefit of patients," said Paul Hudson, CEO, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, in a company press release. "We look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients."

Source: Novartis