Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a Durham company that spun out from Duke glaucoma research, will soon be acquired by international eye-care company Alcon in a $770 million deal.
Aerie is known for two FDA-approved eyedrop medications, Rhopressa and Rocklatan, which help treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension. Together the eyedrops brought in $112.1 million in revenue in 2021. Rhopressa was approved by the FDA in 2017, Rocklatan in 2019.
The company has more eye drugs in the pipeline, including a dry eye medication that is in the late stages of clinical trials and has shown early promise. Retinal disease and ocular inflammation treatments are also in development.
“Alcon’s global infrastructure, financial resources and commercial capabilities will accelerate the standard of care by helping more patients have access to Aerie’s innovative products,” said Aerie CEO Raj Kannan in a press release.
The company is headquartered and has a manufacturing facility in Durham but also has locations in California, New Jersey, Ireland and Japan, which employ more than 400 people in total.
Aerie was founded in 2005 and drew heavily from co-founder Dr. David Epstein’s Duke research on retinal diseases, glaucoma and ocular surface diseases like dry eye syndrome.
Aerie became a publicly traded company in in 2013. Since the deal with Alcon became public on Tuesday, Aerie’s stock has surged 33%.
Alcon is a Swiss company that employs about 24,000 people and touts being the largest eye care devices company in the world.
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