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Akorn Acquires Minority Stake in Ophthalmic Drugs Firm Aciex

Akorn acquired a minority stake in Aciex Therapeutics, an ophthalmic drug development firm with a pipeline comprising both clinical- and preclinical-stage candidates. The investment was accompanied by a global licensing deal giving Akorn rights to a novel OTC eyecare product and a manufacturing agreement for one of Aciex’s lead prescription candidates.

Niche specialty pharmaceuticals firm Akorn is focused on the development, manufacture, and marketing of multisource and branded pharmaceutical products in the areas of ophthalmology, antidotes, anti-infectives, and controlled substances for pain management and anesthesia. The firm’s ophthalmology business markets diagnostic products including mydriatics and cycloplegics, anesthetics, topical stains, gonioscopic solutions, and angiography dyes. In May the firm acquried Advanced Vision Research, a firm specialized in the OTC dry eye market that sells products under the TheraTears&reg brand. Akorn in addition offers custom R&D and manufacturing services for injectable and ophthalmic products, spanning formulation services to commercial production.

The firm reported core business revenues of $25.4 million during the first quarter of 2011, up 66% over the same period in 2010. It says the increase resulted both from continued growth of products launched during 2010 and organic growth in established injectable and ophthalmic product lines. Reporting its Q1 2011 results in May, the firm said it had 20 ANDAs filed with FDA and projected filing another 10 products with the agency in the near future.