Purchase Strengthens MedPointe’s Allergy Franchise, Leverages Its Sales Force
Somerset, NJ – April 29, 2003 – MedPointe Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of all U.S. and Canadian rights to Optivar® (azelastine hydrochloride), a prescription-only treatment for itching of the eye associated with allergic conjunctivitis in adults and children ages three and older. Comprised of the same active ingredient, Optiva® is complementary to MedPointe’s flagship product, Astelin®, and a significant addition to the Company’s growing allergy/respiratory franchise.
Optivar® will be detailed in a co-primary position with Astelin® by MedPointe’s 304-territory U.S. sales force and promoted to more than 50,000 primary care physicians, allergists and ear, nose and throat specialists. In connection with the acquisition, MedPointe assumed a co-promotion agreement with Bausch & Lomb, which will continue to co-promote the product to the ophthalmic/eye care community. Launched in 2000 with exclusivity until 2010, Optivar® generated net sales in 2002 of $13 million and is experiencing year-over-year annual prescription growth in excess of 30 percent.
“We are extremely pleased to announce this strategically important acquisition for MedPointe,” said Anthony H. Wild, Ph.D., MedPointe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Optivar is a young product with strong growth prospects that extends our presence in the allergy category and provides our sales force with another high-growth niche product to promote just as the allergy season is upon us. We have pursued this acquisition for a number of months, and its successful completion reaffirms our commitment to building a substantial specialty pharmaceuticals company.”
Allergic conjunctivitis is the most common ocular allergy, affecting 25 percent of the general population and 60 percent of people with nasal allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis – itching, burning and redness of the eyes – are highly seasonal and are triggered by the action of histamines in response to airborne allergens such as pollen, mold and dust. While sufferers would benefit from a prescribed treatment, few seek a physician’s care and most self-medicate with over-the-counter drugs. The US market for ocular allergy treatments is estimated at approximately $280 million.
Under the terms of the sale, MedPointe acquired Optivar®, including all commercial and intellectual property rights in the United States and Canada, from Viatris, Inc., Viatris GmbH & Co. KG, and Muro Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The purchase price was not disclosed.
MedPointe Inc. is a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company located at 265 Davidson Avenue, Suite 300, Somerset, New Jersey, 08873-4120; 732-564-2200. MedPointe specializes in respiratory, allergy, central nervous system, cough/cold and pediatric products. The company maintains a manufacturing facility in Decatur, Ill. For more information on MedPointe, visit www.medpointepharma.com.
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