Bausch & Lomb snags experimental eye treatments in $500M ISTA buyout

Bausch & Lomb's ($BOL) willingness to shell out $500 million for ISTA Pharmaceuticals ($ISTA), a significant improvement over Valeant's ($VRX) failed bid, has a lot to do with ISTA's pipeline of experimental therapies.

"This (acquisition) gives us four additional marketed products and nearly doubles our late-stage research and development pipeline," Bausch & Lomb CEO Brent Saunder told Reuters.

It didn't hurt that Bausch & Lomb already makes most of ISTA's marketed drugs, giving it an insider's view of the potential of a treatment like Bromday, which is used to treat inflammation that occurs after cataract surgery. Now Bausch & Lomb takes control of Prolensa, a new formulation of Bromday that will look for an FDA approval later in the year. And ISTA has other treatments in the pipeline for ocular pain and inflammation, nasal allergies as well as dry eye.

While primarily viewed as a marketing organization, Bausch & Lomb hasn't neglected R&D. A little more than a week ago, Bausch & Lomb and NicOx offered positive data for their Phase IIb study of a new glaucoma treatment.

Bausch & Lomb is paying $9.10 a share to close the deal, a 9% premium. Valeant--which has little appetite for early-stage R&D risk--had offered $6.50 a share but walked away after ISTA turned a cold shoulder to the price.

- here's the release
- check out the Reuters story
- get more from the report from Bloomberg