Aton Pharma Acquires U.S. TIMOPTIC(R)

February 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

“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.

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

* 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.

SOURCE Aton Pharma, Inc.

Source: newswire

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