Novartis to acquire Takeda's dry eye treatment Xiidra in a deal valued at up to $5.3 billion

Novartis on Wednesday announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase the assets associated with Takeda's dry eye treatment Xiidra (lifitegrast). In the deal, Novartis will pay Takeda an upfront payment of $3.4 billion, while the latter drugmaker is eligible for milestone payments of as much as $1.9 billion. Novartis noted that Xiidra amassed approximately $400 million in revenue last year. 

"Xiidra, with its unique dual benefits, is an example of the type of innovative advances we invest in for the benefit of patients," commented Novartis Pharmaceuticals CEO Paul Hudson, adding "we look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients." 

Novartis noted that it will assume 400 Takeda employees associated with the product as part of the transaction, with the deal expected to close in the second half of this year. 

Meanwhile, Takeda, which said the transaction will not have a material impact on its financial guidance, is offloading Xiidra as part of its $62-billion takeover of Shire. CEO Christophe Weber commented "these initial divestitures represent important steps in advancing the growth strategy Takeda outlined following our transformational acquisition of Shire earlier this year." 

Takeda had previously unveiled plans to divest $10 billion in non-core assets to help offset its $31-billion debt load incurred as part of the Shire transaction, which had led to a credit downgrade. The Japanese drugmaker has also previously disclosed that it did not intend to offload its over-the-counter consumer business. 

The news comes after Novartis spun off its Alcon eye care business last month.

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