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Ophthalmology grabs Wall Street’s attention


Financial takeovers rattle up the pharmaceutical world

Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Joshua Mali, MD. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or MultiMedia Healthcare, LLC.

On June 25, 2019, AbbVie announced its plan to acquire Allergan plc for $63 billion in one of the largest purchases the financial world has seen to date. In doing so, AbbVie threw down the gauntlet and established itself as a new leader in the ophthalmology space. While the company already had its foot in the door with its blockbuster drug adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie) the Allergan acquisition raises the bar for its competitors.

With Allergan bread-and-butter staples like onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox), cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05% (Restasis), and its dexamethasone intravitreal implant (Ozurdex) providing revenue, the true jewel of the deal lies within Allergan’s potentially lucrative pipeline.

In particular, two promising retina treatments, a brimonidine drug delivery system (Brimo DDS) for the treatment of geographic atrophy-dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD)-and abicipar pegol for treating wet AMD. These new treatments for retinal conditions affecting millions of people will lead to both clinical and financial success.

Does the AbbVie deal represent the beginning of more acquisitions or was this just an uncommon event?

When we look at some other recent transactions-Takeda buying Shire, for instance; Biogen’s takeover of Nightstar Therapeutics; and Roche acquiring Spark Therapeutics-certainly this appears to be a significant trend towards dynamic mergers and acquisitions in the ophthalmology space.

Clearly, ophthalmology is getting Wall Street’s attention!    

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Joshua Mali, MD
P: 941-923-2020 E: malienterprisesglobal@gmail.com
Dr. Mali is an award-winning vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, Florida. He is also the Founder & CEO of Mali Enterprises. His relevant financial disclosures include the following: Stock Equity Owner in AbbVie; Consultant & Investigator (research funding) with Allergan.

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