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Ista shares rise on eye drug approval


IRVINE, Calif. An Irvine, Calif.-based pharmaceutical company saw a surge in profits Wednesday after announcing the approval of its eye allergy medication.

Shares of Ista Pharmaceuticals were up as much as 10% earlier before settling up 2% at the close of trading on a market value of about $195 million, according to reports.

Ista announced the approval of Bepreve (bepotastine besilate) ophthalmic solution in the 1.5% strength, a twice-daily eye drop for itching eyes in patients aged 2 and older with allergic conjunctivitis.

Ista also reported that it raised its 2009 sales guidance to $104 million to $107 million, up from a previous forecast of $95 million to $100 million. Analysts had been expecting Ista to have sales of $99.8 million this year.

“Bepreve offers a new, safe and effective way to treat the itching caused by ocular allergies,” ISTA president and CEO Vicente Anido said in a statement. “We expect to have Bepreve available to ophthalmologists and patients in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2009.”

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