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Merck to Acquire Eyebiotech for Up to $3 Billion

Merck to Acquire Eyebiotech for Up to $3 Billion

May 29, 2024

Merck & Co, a global pharmaceutical giant, has finalized a monumental deal worth $3 billion to acquire EyeBio, a leading developer of eye-focused drugs. The agreement includes an upfront payment of $1.3 billion in cash, along with an additional $1.7 billion in future milestone-based payments. 

Eyebiotech, known for its innovative treatments targeting sight-threatening diseases, stands to be a valuable addition to Merck’s portfolio. The company’s leading clinical-stage drug, Restoret, aims to treat retinal diseases that can result in impaired vision due to leakage. With operations in both the U.S. and the UK, Eyebiotech’s acquisition could significantly bolster Merck’s presence in the ophthalmology sector.

Strategic Acquisition Amid Keytruda Revenue Decline

Merck has been actively seeking acquisitions to mitigate the impending revenue decline from its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, which is expected to lose patent protection by the end of the decade. Keytruda, which generated $25 billion in sales in 2023 and is projected to reach $30 billion by 2026, remains the world’s top-selling prescription medicine. The strategic acquisition of Eyebiotech aligns with Merck’s stated goal from February to pursue deals up to $15 billion to sustain its growth trajectory.

Industry Trends and Merck’s Response

Despite repeated requests for comments, Merck has yet to respond, and Eyebiotech has declined to comment on the matter. The acquisition reflects a broader trend of consolidation within the biopharma sector, where companies are leveraging significant cash reserves for mergers and acquisitions to enhance their research and development capabilities and expand their product offerings.

This potential deal underscores Merck’s commitment to diversifying its product pipeline and reinforcing its position in the competitive biopharma landscape. If finalized, the acquisition of Eyebiotech will mark another strategic step for Merck in securing innovative therapies and sustaining its market leadership amid looming patent expirations and industry challenges​.