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Aton Pharma Acquires U.S. TIMOPTIC(R)
Date:2/25/2009

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Aton Pharma, Inc., a diversified specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced it has acquired the U.S. marketing rights to the TIMOPTIC(R) product line from Merck & Co., Inc. TIMOPTIC (timolol maleate) is a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. As many as 2.25 million Americans suffer from open-angle glaucoma.

The U.S. TIMOPTIC product line includes TIMOPTIC(R) (timolol maleate) Ophthalmic Solution, TIMOPTIC (timolol maleate ophthalmic solution) in OCUDOSE(R) (sterile ophthalmic unit dose dispenser) and TIMOPTIC-XE(R) (timolol maleate ophthalmic gel forming solution) Ophthalmic. TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE(R) is the only preservative-free medication for glaucoma available in the U.S. and aligns with Aton's strategy of providing unique, medically essential products.

Aton Pharma also provides the dry eye medication LACRISERT(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert), a preservative-free, once-daily*, sustained release prescription insert indicated for moderate to severe dry eye, that helps to retain moisture, stabilize the tear film, and lubricate the eye.

"Aton has made the strategic decision to expand our commitment within the field of ophthalmology," stated Michael G. Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Aton Pharma. "The acquisition of the U.S. TIMOPTIC franchise significantly enhances our profile within the ophthalmology community while enabling us to serve yet another niche market that is greatly underserved."

"A large body of evidence has indicated that ocular preservatives, particularly benzalkonium chloride (BAK), impair surface tissues of the eye leading to inflammation, dry eye and other issues," explained Penny Asbell, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "This is particularly problematic in glaucoma patients, who must use medication frequently and for long periods of time. Preservative-free product options are important for these patients with dry eyes."**

Aton's market research indicates that more than 60% of ophthalmologists are unaware that preservative-free preparations of timolol are available. The use of preservative-containing glaucoma medications in patients with compromised ocular surface issues is of particular concern to nearly 80% of ophthalmologists.

"As we have done with LACRISERT and other Aton products, we will concentrate on enhancing distribution, sampling and reimbursement assistance while increasing patient and provider awareness for TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE(R)," added Mr. Wells.

TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE(R), along with TIMOPTIC(R) and TIMOPTIC XE(R), is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE(R) , TIMOPTIC(R), and TIMOPTIC-XE(R) are contraindicated in patients with bronchial asthma; a history of bronchial asthma; severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; sinus bradycardia; second or third degree atrioventricular block; overt cardiac failure; cardiogenic shock; or hypersensitivity to any component of this product. Because of the potential effects of beta-adrenergic blocking agents on blood pressure and pulse, these agents should be used with caution in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency. The same adverse reactions found with systemic administration of beta-adrenergic blocking agents may occur with topical ophthalmic administration.

LACRISERT is indicated in patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndromes, including keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Most adverse reactions with LACRISERT were mild and transient and included transient blurring of vision, ocular discomfort or irritation, matting or stickiness of eyelashes, photophobia, hypersensitivity, edema of the eyelids, and hyperemia. LACRISERT should not be used by patients who are hypersensitive to hydroxypropyl cellulose. If improperly placed, LACRISERT may result in corneal abrasion.

About Aton Pharma, Inc.

Aton Pharma, Inc., headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ, is a global, diversified specialty pharmaceutical company providing essential treatments for under-treated diseases. Aton's mission is to improve patient outcomes and quality of life worldwide by enhancing and expanding access and availability of medically essential therapeutics. Aton's portfolio of ten products, with sales in over 30 countries, focuses on ophthalmic diseases, orphan conditions and acute care hospital products. For more information, see http://www.atonrx.com.

* Some patients may require the flexibility of twice-daily dosing for optimal results.

**Dr. Penny Asbell is a member of Aton's Advisory Board and received an unrestricted grant in 2008 from Aton for her research.


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SOURCE Aton Pharma, Inc.
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