Novartis completes first step in acquisition of Alcon

August 1, 2008

Huenenberg and Basel, Switzerland-Novartis has completed the first of two steps of its $39 billion purchase of Alcon Laboratories from Nestlé, a deal that gives the Swiss pharmaceutical firm a 25% stake in Alcon, according to prepared statements issued by the companies.

Huenenberg and Basel, Switzerland-Novartis has completed the first of two steps of its $39 billion purchase of Alcon Laboratories from Nestlé, a deal that gives the Swiss pharmaceutical firm a 25% stake in Alcon, according to prepared statements issued by the companies. The acquisition is part of a definitive agreement reached between Novartis and Nestlé in April.

The second step is optional and provides rights for Novartis to acquire, and Nestlé to sell, the remaining 52% stake held by Nestlé between Jan. 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 for a price not exceeding about $28 billion.

Completion of the optional second step would make Alcon a majority-owned subsidiary of Novartis, according to Novartis’ statement.

Alcon also announced in a prepared statement that the company has terminated the development program designed to evaluate the benefit of anecortave acetate treatment on the risk of developing choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration.

The decision followed a planned interim analysis of studies performed after 2,546 patients had reached the 24-month time point. In the analysis, anecortave acetate showed no effect on the primary or secondary endpoints. Alcon said that it also terminated two smaller studies with an identical design that were being conducted in Asia.

The company said that it continues to study anecortave acetate administered as an anterior juxtascleral depot to reduce IOP in patients with open-angle glaucoma, according to the prepared statement.