Valeant to acquire in-office noninvasive ocular allergy Dx startup Doctor's Allergy

Valeant's ($VRX) Bausch + Lomb business will acquire ophthalmic diagnostic startup Doctor's Allergy Formula for an undisclosed amount. The eye health business will gain an FDA-approved test to diagnose and identify the cause of ocular allergies--with the expectation that the test is becoming the standard of care.

The startup was founded in 2013 by ophthalmologist Dr. Howard Loff. Its Ocular Allergy Diagnostic System is already used by at least 1,250 ophthalmologists, which makes it the "fastest growing company in ophthalmology," according to the company's site.

The ocular allergy test is designed to be used in at the point of care in the ophthalmologist's office. It's noninvasive and doesn't involve needles. The diagnostic requires three minutes to administer, with results available in about 15 minutes. It uses a panel of 60 regionally specific allergens.

The expectation is that the diagnostic enables ophthalmologists to come up with a more customized treatment protocol depending on the allergen. It can also help them to distinguish between ocular allergies and other disorders that present similarly, such as dry eyes and blepharitis.

"Doctor's Allergy Formula launched a little more than two years ago and has grown to be a leader in the diagnostic allergy market," Loff, who is the company's CMO, said in a statement. "We are excited to be joining Bausch + Lomb to bring the benefits of this innovative test to even more ophthalmologists, which I believe will soon become the standard-of-care."

For Valeant Pharmaceuticals, the deal will bolster its Bausch + Lomb business, which it acquired in August 2013. B+L sales grew organically by 5% overall last quarter--but its ophthalmology drug sales were off 3% due to a supply outage for Valeant's Macugen product. That left the U.S. B+L business growth flat last quarter. Doctor's Allergy Formula will become part of its ophthalmology pharmaceuticals business.

Valeant has also been drawing heavy criticism and investor skepticism in the last month as drug pricing issues have come to the fore--in the biopharma industry more broadly, as well as specifically for this company and its products.

B+L Pharmaceuticals SVP and GM Tracy Valorie

"The addition of the Doctor's Allergy Formula to Bausch + Lomb's Pharmaceuticals business will further enhance our diagnostic portfolio of products for eye care practitioners in the rapidly evolving segment of ocular surface disease," B+L Pharmaceuticals SVP and GM Tracy Valorie said in a statement. "We are committed to delivering meaningful products to serve the needs of the eye care community and their patients and Doctor's Allergy Formula is just one example."

- here is the announcement

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