US drug-maker Merck has announced that it will acquire eye treatment specialist Inspire Pharmaceuticals for $430m.

The $5-per-share cash offer for Inspire represents a 26% premium on Inspire’s closing stock price on Monday.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and Warburg Pincus Private Equity, which owns about 28% of the outstanding shares of Inspire, has agreed to tender all of its shares into the offer.

Inspire’s key products are AzaSite (azithromycin ophthalmic solution) 1%, and ELESTAT (epinastine HCl ophthalmic solution) 0.05%, both of which are treatments for conjunctivitis.

Merck senior vice-president and general manager of neuroscience and ophthalmology Beverly Lybrand said, “Merck continues to build upon its long-term commitment to improving therapeutic options for the treatment of eye diseases.

“This acquisition combines the talented commercialisation organisation 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.”

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By GlobalData