AbbVie said on Wednesday it will pay $60 million for the rights to acquire a Belgian company that is developing a minimally invasive glaucoma surgery device.
The companies struck a deal to develop and commercialize iSTAR Medical’s MINIject device, a small, porous implant that is designed to reduce intraocular pressure. The device is currently CE-marked and iSTAR began selling it in some European countries earlier this year.
iSTAR currently is enrolling for a premarket approval study so that the device can be sold in the U.S. AbbVie will help develop and commercialize the MINIject device until this study is completed. The trial is expected to enroll 975 patients and conclude in 2025, BTIG analysts said in a Wednesday research note.
“We think it's likely that [AbbVie] could help accelerate enrollment of this trial, moving timelines forward, even though iSTAR will remain an independent company through the clinical trial,” the analysts wrote.
After the trial is done, AbbVie has the exclusive right to acquire iSTAR and lead global development and commercialization of its glaucoma surgery device, per the terms of the agreement.
AbbVie will make a $60 million non-dilutive upfront payment and iSTAR’s stockholders will be able to receive as much as $475 million in additional contingent payments if the company achieves certain milestones.
AbbVie, which currently offers glaucoma treatments in the form of drops, sustained release implants and stents, said it sees the deal as an opportunity to grow its eye-care business.
"As a leading company in eye care with a commitment to a broad and diverse portfolio from the front to the back of the eye, along with our global footprint and infrastructure in glaucoma, we are well-positioned to support bringing this [minimally invasive glaucoma surgery] offering to patients and glaucoma specialists through this strategic alliance," Michael Robinson, AbbVie’s global therapeutic area head of eye care, said in a statement.
The BTIG analysts added that while the deal doesn’t shake up the surgical glaucoma landscape, it signals AbbVie’s intention to expand in the mild to moderate glaucoma segment.