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Bausch & Lomb buys eye drop line

Bausch & Lomb buys Soothe eye drops from US-based Alimera Sciences for an undisclosed price and will extend the line

German ophthalmology company Bausch & Lomb (B&L) has bought the Soothe emollient (lubricant) eye drop line from US-based Alimera Sciences, a private ophthalmic pharmaceutical company.

B&L said it would expand the Soothe brand and establish a broader line of OTC products to relieve dry eye symptoms. The company will initially focus on two technologies, each designed to target a different layer of the tear film.

Financial details were undisclosed at the time of writing.

The Soothe deal follows B&L's December 2006 purchase of Alimera's OTC allergy franchise, including Alaway (ketotifen) antihistamine eye drops indicated for up to 12 hours of relief for itchy eyes due to ragweed, pollen, grass and animal hair.

Alimera's divestiture of its OTC portfolio marks its new focus on improving the delivery of fluocinolone through the in-licensing of Australia-based pSivida's Medidur drug delivery technology. Alimera and pSivida have a worldwide agreement to co-develop and market fluocinolone in Medidur to treat Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). In April 2007, both firms announced that phase III global clinical trial enrolment for Medidur had exceeded 500 patients.

B&L is currently mulling takeover bids by Warburg Pincus and Advanced Medical Optics (AMO). The company has expressed doubt that AMOís shareholders will approve the USD 4.2bn offer, while Warburg Pincusí USD 4.5bn bid, which includes around USD 830m of debt, remains the front runner.

1st August 2007

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