Aton acquires U.S. marketing rights for timolol

March 2, 2009
Ophthalmology Times Staff Reports

Aton Pharma Inc. has acquired the U.S. marketing rights to the timolol (Timoptic) product line from Merck & Co. Inc.

Lawrenceville, NJ

-Aton Pharma Inc. has acquired the U.S. marketing rights to the timolol (Timoptic) product line from Merck & Co. Inc.

This acquisition includes rights to:
• Timolol maleate (Timoptic Ophthalmic Solution).
• Timolol maleate ophthalmic solution in a sterile ophthalmic unit dose dispenser (Timoptic in Ocudose)-the only preservative-free medication for glaucoma available in the United States, according to Aton Pharma.
• Timolol maleate ophthalmic gel-forming solution (Timoptic-XE Ophthalmic). Timolol is a nonselective, beta-adrenergic receptor blocker indicated for the treatment of elevated IOP in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma.

Aton Pharma also provides a hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert (Lacrisert), a preservative-free, once-daily, sustained-release prescription insert for moderate to severe dry eye.

“Aton Pharma has made the strategic decision to expand our commitment within the field of ophthalmology,” said Michael G. Wells, chief executive officer of Aton Pharma. “The acquisition of the [timolol] franchise significantly enhances our profile within the ophthalmology community while enabling us to serve yet another niche market that is greatly underserved.”

According to market research done by Aton Pharma, more than 60% of ophthalmologists are not aware that preservative-free preparations of timolol are available. In addition, the company said its research indicated that more than 80% of ophthalmologists are particularly concerned about the use of glaucoma medications containing preservatives in patients with compromised ocular surfaces.

“A large body of evidence has indicated that ocular preservatives, particularly benzalkonium chloride, impair surface tissues of the eye, leading to inflammation, dry eye, and other issues,” said Penny Asbell, MD, professor of ophthalmology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

“This is particularly problematic in glaucoma patients, who must use medication frequently and for long periods of time,” she added. “Preservative-free product options are important for these patients with dry eyes.”