Dame Kate Bingham Celebrates ‘Astonishing’ $3bn Deal for EyeBio

In a landmark deal for the biotech industry, EyeBio, a London-based startup co-founded by Dame Kate Bingham, has been acquired by US pharmaceutical giant Merck, known as MSD in the UK, for up to $3bn (£2.36bn).

This acquisition is poised to revolutionise treatments for blindness.

Merck has committed to an initial payment of $1.3bn (£1bn) for EyeBio, with an additional $1.7bn contingent on achieving certain milestones. The rapid success of EyeBio, which raised just $130m since its founding in August 2021, has been described as “astonishing” by Dame Kate Bingham.

Bingham’s venture capital firm, SV Health Investors, established EyeBio in collaboration with scientists David Guyer and Tony Adamis. Since its inception, Dame Kate has served as the company’s chairman, leveraging her prominent profile as one of the key figures behind the UK’s successful Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Dame Bingham was instrumental in leading the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce in early 2020, earning a damehood for her efforts in securing Covid-19 vaccines, which enabled the UK to become the first Western country to begin vaccinating its population in late 2020. She stepped down from this role at the end of 2020 and returned to her position at SV Health Investors as a managing partner.

The acquisition by Merck is expected to accelerate the development of EyeBio’s innovative treatments for eye diseases. EyeBio’s primary focus has been on diabetic macular oedema and age-related macular disease, two of the most prevalent causes of blindness in the Western world. Dame Kate told the Financial Times that the company’s drugs have the potential to “revolutionise the treatment” of these conditions.

David Guyer, EyeBio’s Chief Executive and President, highlighted the benefits of the acquisition: “As a subsidiary of Merck, EyeBio will be positioned to tap into the resources and infrastructure needed to support the clinical, regulatory, and commercial development of these candidates and help bring them to patients worldwide.”

Merck’s acquisition of EyeBio aligns with its strategy to enhance its drug pipeline, particularly as its blockbuster cancer drug nears the end of its patent. This deal not only signifies a major advancement for EyeBio but also underscores the critical role of innovative biotech companies in transforming healthcare outcomes.

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Dame Kate Bingham Celebrates ‘Astonishing’ $3bn Deal for EyeBio