Fort Worth Ophthalmic Biotech Eyevance Exits to Japanese Firm for $225M

Eyevance Pharmaceuticals, which develops and commercializes ophthalmic products, has been purchased for $225 million by Santen, a Japanese leader in ophthalmology. Eyevance will join Santen's U.S. organization.

Fort Worth is getting another huge biotech success story: Eyevance Holdings LLC has entered into a shared purchase agreement with Osaka, Japan-based Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Per the agreement, Santen Holdings U.S. Inc., a wholly subsidiary of Santen, will acquire all outstanding shares of Eyevance Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. for $225 million. Eyevance remains committed to the Fort Worth area and does not plan on moving its offices or any employees.

Eyevance was founded in Fort Worth in 2017 to provide medication to eye doctors. Jerry St. Peter, co-founder, CEO, and director, and Jason Werner, co-founder and chief operating officer, wanted to advance ocular health through the development and commercialization of innovative and impactful topical ophthalmic products.

Eyevance’s products target the surface and anterior segment of the eye. Currently, the biotech offers those that are anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal, anti-infective/anti-inflammatory fixed combination, and tear lubricant.

Last year, Eyevance raised $30 million in an equity funding round. The funding announcement came after it acquired TOBRADEX ST and NATACYN from the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis, which was part of its growth strategy.

The company said in a statement that its commercialization strategy is supported by a national sales team that targets U.S. ophthalmologists, optometrists, and allergists.

That aligns with Santen’s long-term vision. The specialized ophthalmology company has been making moves to achieve its “world vision” that looks toward 2030 and beyond.

With the purchase of Eyevance, Santen aims to quickly establish a business base in the U.S. to further contribute to the needs of a greater number of patients.

“We’re very pleased to have entered into this agreement,” Shigeo Taniuchi, Santen president and CEO, said in a statement. “We will accelerate global business rollout by gaining access to the U.S. and our presence in the market, aiming for even further corporate growth and contribution to ophthalmic treatments for people around the world.”

Peter and Werner said they look forward to joining Santen’s U.S. organization.

The global company carries out R&D, marketing, and the sales of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter products, and medical devices in more than 60 countries. Per a statement, Santen is the market leader for prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals in Japan.

In exiting to Santen, Eyevance intends to embark on a new journey—one that further strengthens its existing commercial business.

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