Ireland-based pharmaceutical firm Allergan has entered an agreement to acquire US-based medical device firm AqueSys for $300m.

AqueSys is focused on developing ocular implants that reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) associated with glaucoma.

The deal will include regulatory approval and commercialisation milestone payments related to AqueSys’ lead development programmes, including XEN45.

Allergan president Brent Saunders said: "The acquisition of AqueSys and its XEN45 programme builds on Allergan’s deep and long standing commitment to innovation in eye care.

"The acquisition of the XEN45 device demonstrates our commitment to alternative next-generation glaucoma treatments."

"Our eye care team has a strong track record of introducing novel treatments for patients with glaucoma.

"The acquisition of the XEN45 device demonstrates our commitment to alternative next-generation glaucoma treatments, which are appealing to both patients and physicians and extend beyond conventional medication eyedrops."

The acquisition gives Allergan access to XEN45, a soft shunt that is implanted in the subconjunctival space in the eye through a minimally invasive procedure with a single use and pre-loaded proprietary injector.

XEN45 technology is said to facilitate aqueous fluid flow to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), while protecting against the potential for hypotony, which is associated with current subconjunctival procedures.

In the EU, the company secured CE Mark approval for XEN45 to reduce intraocular pressure in patients with primary open angle glaucoma where previous medical treatments have failed.

The approval allows treatment in conjunction with a cataract procedure or as a standalone procedure. Additionally, the soft shunt received approval in Turkey, Canada and Switzerland.

In the US, XEN45 is in late-stage development, where the final investigational device exemption (IDE) clinical trial fully enrolled patients in the second quarter of this year.

Final approval from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to be received by late 2016 or early 2017.

Subject to pending approvals, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

Image: AqueSys’ XEN45 injector. Photo: courtesy of Allergan.