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Clinical readout spurred Merck’s $1.3B takeout of VC-backed ophthalmic play EyeBio

ARTICLE | Deals

In milestone-heavy deal worth up to $3B total, the pharma makes a big commitment to late-stage candidate for retinal diseases

By Paul Bonanos, Director of Biopharma Intelligence

May 29, 2024 8:52 PM UTC

A team of serial entrepreneurs backed by a VC syndicate has steered privately held EyeBio to a quick billion-dollar exit, as Merck reached a deal to acquire the ophthalmic company for its trispecific, Wnt-targeting molecule ahead of a planned pivotal study to treat retinal disorders.

Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) agreed to pay $1.3 billion up front to acquire three-year-old Eyebiotech Ltd. — informally, EyeBio — and gain therapeutic candidate Restoret (EYE-103). The start-up’s shareholders are eligible for another $1.7 billion in development and regulatory milestones…