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Opko to Sell Ophthalmic Instrumentation Business


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).

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.