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Opko to Acquire Complimentary Diagnostics Firm

Miami-based Opko Health (formerly known as eXegenics) today announced plans to acquire a diagnostic imaging firm that would compliment its portfolio of ophthalmic therapeutics. The acquisition target, Ophthalmic Technologies (OTI), is a private Canadian company that markets a full line of ophthalmic ultrasound and imaging products used in routine and specialized eye procedures. It has offices in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and a distributor network that covers more than 40 countries. Details of the offer price were not disclosed, but Opko said in a press release that it has purchased one-third of OTI's outstanding common shares and has received an exclusive option to purchase the remaining shares over six months. Adding a line of diagnostics would help round out Opko's drug-focused product portfolio, which includes the following: a gene silencing agent, bevasiranib, which has successfully completed Phase II clinical trials for wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema; a novel clinical-stage product for conjunctivitis; and a pipeline of pre-clinical candidates that include novel agents to treat dry age-related macular degeneration and other ophthalmic diseases. Opko Health got into the eye space in March 2007, when it entered a three-way merger with Acuity Pharmaceuticals and Froptix, two private companies focused on eye-related disorders. The merger brought the three firms under one umbrella and brought back to life what was then known as eXegenics, a public company with no active operations. In its former life, eXegenics developed drugs for treating cancer and infectious diseases.

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