Merck & Co. To Acquire Ophthalmology Drug Company EyeBio in $3-Bn Deal 

Merck & Co. has agreed to acquire Eyebiotech Limited (EyeBio), an ophthalmology-focused biotechnology company, in a deal worth up to $3 billion ($1.3 billion upfront and $1.7 billion in milestone payments). 

EyeBio is developing a pipeline of clinical and preclinical candidates for the prevention and treatment of vision loss associated with retinal vascular leakage, a known risk factor for retinal diseases. The company’s lead candidate, Restoret (EYE103), is an investigational tetravalent, tri-specific antibody that acts as an agonist of the Wingless-related integration site (Wnt) signaling pathway. Based on positive results from a Phase Ib/IIa study in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration, Restoret is anticipated to advance into a Phase IIb/III trial to investigate the treatment of patients with DME in the second half of 2024. 

Under the agreement, Merck, through a subsidiary, will acquire all outstanding shares of EyeBio for up to $3 billion, including an upfront payment of $1.3 billion in cash and a further potential $1.7 billion in developmental, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments. The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the EyeBio Board of Directors. 

Closing of the proposed acquisition is subject to approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024. 

Source: Merck & Co.