FDA hands Ista an approval for itchy-eye treatment

Ista Pharmaceuticals has won FDA approval for its new treatment for itchy eyes, an event that spurred the developer to move up plans to expand its sales force and launch the therapy in the fourth quarter.

Irvine, CA-based Ista saw its shares jump 14 percent on the approval of Bepreve, which is designed to treat allergic conjunctivitis--eye allergies triggered by pollen, plants and other irritants. The approval along with its accelerated launch plans prompted Ista to bump up its revenue forecast for 2009.

"Because of the timing of this approval and the strength of our underlying business, we will accelerate all of the launch activities immediately, including the scale-up of the sales force," said Ista CEO Vicente Anido, Jr. "This will allow us not only to finish this year very strongly but also enter next year with an expanded sales force in place."

- read the Ista release
- read the AP story