Alcon to acquire ESBATech

September 16, 2009

Alcon has announced in a prepared statement that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ESBATech AG, a Swiss biotechnology company.

Huenenberg and Zurich, Switzerland

-Alcon has announced in a prepared statement that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ESBATech AG, a Swiss biotechnology company.

ESBATech has advanced its antibody fragment technology to preclinical and clinical stages in the eye for various diseases. The company has several stable and soluble single-chain antibody fragments in development, with its most advanced product candidate having progressed into phase I and II studies relating to the treatment of inflammatory ocular diseases, according to the statement.

“Biotechnology offers significant growth opportunities in ophthalmology because it has the potential to deliver therapies with superior efficacy and safety relative to existing approaches,” said Sabri Markabi, MD, Alcon’s senior vice president of research and development and chief medical officer. “Combining ESBATech’s proprietary antibody fragment technology with our expertise in ophthalmic formulation and capabilities in global development will strengthen Alcon’s leadership position in ophthalmology.”

Dominik Escher, PhD, chief executive officer (CEO) of ESBATech, said: “I am very proud of what our team has achieved in proving clinically that our platform delivers therapeutic antibody fragments with required drug-like properties. All of us at ESBATech are excited to join with Alcon to advance this technology further and to develop products to treat serious eye diseases so that more patients can see better.”

The acquisition agreement includes all rights to ESBATech’s technology for therapeutic application to the eye, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, dry eye, glaucoma, and uveitis, according to the release. All ESBATech employees will join Alcon upon the finalization of the acquisition.

“This acquisition is part of our ongoing strategy to enhance access to multiple sources of technologies and compounds that bolster our total research platform in support of innovative products to treat eye disease,” said Kevin Buehler, Alcon’s president and CEO. “We welcome Dr. Escher and his highly qualified team of biotechnology experts who will become the foundation of Alcon’s biologics capability in the future."

Alcon will pay ESBATech shareholders $150 million in cash at closing, plus contingent payments of up to $439 million based upon the achievement of future research and development milestones that would be expected to create value for Alcon, the company said.