Eye on Five – April Edition

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FDA Approves Avedro Corneal Collagen Cross-linking Platform
The US Food and Drug Administration finally gave a green light to Avedro Inc. for its KXL System, a corneal collagen cross-linking platform for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. An FDA joint panel recommended approval in February last year, but a month later the agency denied approval, asking for more information. To hear our podcast on the approval go here.

Pfizer, Allergan Call It Quits on Their Merger Plans
A day after the US Treasury Department tightened regulations on corporate tax inversions, Pfizer and Allergan called off their planned merger. The deal would have been a classic tax inversion with New York-based Pfizer combining with Dublin-based Allergan to take advantage of Ireland’s lower corporate tax rate. Allergan CEO Brent Saunders said both companies had contingency plans in case they had to call off the merger. Saunders, meanwhile, would not rule out a possible bid for Valeant’s Bausch + Lomb unit. Listen to this OIS Podcast.

Joseph Papa to Replace Michael Pearson as Valeant CEO
And speaking of Valeant, now ex-Perrigo CEO Joseph Papa is due to succeed Michael Pearson as Valeant CEO. In a statement, Valeant announced that Papa will take the reins in the Laval, Quebec, executive suite in early May. Papa, 60, had been CEO of Perrigo since 2006 and became chairman a year later. Perrigo Company plc is a top five global over-the-counter consumer goods and pharmaceutical company that had net income of $128 million on $4.6 billion in sales in 2015.

Novartis Sees Revenues Slide, Targets Alcon Restructuring
Novartis’ first-quarter net sales declined 3%, to $11.6 billion, and net income fell off 13%, to just over $2 billion, as the company disclosed that improving performance at Alcon is one of its top five priorities for the year. Alcon net sales for the quarter were off 3% from the same period last year, to $1.4 billion, and the unit’s core operating income was down a whopping 36%, to $243 million. As part of its restructuring, Novartis has already transferred Alcon’s ophthalmic pharmaceuticals franchise to the Novartis pharmaceuticals division.

Alcon Gets Option to Acquire PowerVision
Meanwhile, Alcon stays in the hunt for strategic partners to build its core businesses. Alcon commenced a strategic alliance with PowerVision Inc., which is developing an accommodating intraocular lens (IOL). Alcon’s investment will fund further development and clinical trials and give Alcon the option to acquire the company. A day after disclosing the alliance, PowerVision filed to increase its Series D funding from $30 million to $40 million. Watch PowerVision’s story here.