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Merck to Acquire Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc
"Merck continues to build upon its long-term commitment to improving therapeutic options for the treatment of eye diseases," said Beverly Lybrand, senior vice president and general manager, neuroscience and ophthalmology, Merck. "This acquisition combines the talented commercialization organization at Inspire with the excellent team already in place at Merck thereby strengthening our ophthalmology business and positioning us for future growth with an expanded portfolio. This deal helps address the needs of patients and customers in ophthalmology and creates value for both companies."
In March, 2011, Merck announced that the New Drug Application (NDA) for SAFLUTAN® (tafluprost), an investigational preservative-free prostaglandin analogue ophthalmic solution, had been accepted for standard review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). SAFLUTAN is the proposed trade name for tafluprost in the United States.
"As one of the world's leading healthcare companies, Merck is the ideal partner to enhance the long-term potential of Inspire's portfolio of ophthalmic assets. We are delighted that Merck recognized the strength of an integrated platform leveraging the growing AZASITE® (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1% product opportunity and the strong relationships within the ophthalmic community cultivated by our high quality, specialty eye care sales force in the U.S.," said Adrian Adams, president and CEO of Inspire. "Based upon an extensive analysis of various strategic options, as I have outlined since we announced the results of the TIGER-2 Phase 3 clinical trial, we believe this combination provides a compelling and timely opportunity for our shareholders to realize the value of their investment in Inspire."
The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of a number of Inspire shares that, together with shares owned by Merck, represent at least a majority of the total number of Inspire's outstanding shares (assuming the exercise of all options and vesting of restricted stock units), the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary conditions. Upon the completion of the tender offer, Merck will acquire all remaining shares through a second-step merger.