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Opko to Sell Ophthalmic Instrumentation Business

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Opko Health this week said it has agreed to sell its ophthalmic instrumentation business to Optos for $17.5 million in cash, plus royalties.

The transaction is slated to close in the fourth quarter.

"Following the sale of the instrumentation business, Opko expects to benefit from greater focus on our molecular diagnostics and pharmaceutical businesses,” Opko CEO Phillip Frost said in a statement. “We plan to accelerate the development of our expanding pipeline of important diagnostic and therapeutic products while continuing a judicious program of strategic transactions."

Opko was one of the first firms to get an RNAi-based drug into the clinic, advancing its wet age-related macular degeneration drug bevasiranib into phase III testing. However, in 2009, the company halted the drug's development on poor clinical data (GSN 3/12/2009).

Since then, the company has been quiet about its RNAi activities, although it did acquire non-coding RNA drug firm Curna earlier this year (GSN 2/3/2011).

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