ANI Pharmaceuticals is doubling down on its rare diseases business — deemed its biggest driver of future revenue — by acquiring Georgia-based Alimera Sciences for $381 million.

Alimera focuses on vision issues, and its two commercial products, Iluvien and Yutiq, treat diabetic macular edema and chronic non-infectious uveitis, respectively. In 2024 alone, these drugs would add $105 million to ANI's projected revenue.

"Late last year, we identified ophthalmology as a key strategic therapeutic area for the company and, in the first quarter of 2024, expanded our rare disease team to promote [cortrophin gel] to ophthalmologists," said ANI CEO Nikhil Lalwani in a statement. "Alimera represents what we believe is a highly synergistic complement to this newly established specialty and will leverage our existing rare disease infrastructure."

Baudette-based ANI — which makes a combination of generic and branded medications — created its rare disease unit by launching sales of cortrophin gel to treat inflammation from autoimmune conditions in January 2022.

The deal calls for ANI to pay $5.50 per share for Alimera when the transaction closes late in the third quarter of this year, but there is a future potential cost of $0.50 per share should the company achieve certain revenue targets in 2026 and 2027.

Alimera CEO Rick Eiswirth said in a statement this acquisition "recognizes the value ... at Alimera and creates compelling value" for shareholders.

"This complementary transaction creates a bigger platform to leverage our global infrastructure and outstanding team," Eiswirth's statement read.

ANI posted sales of $486.8 million for 2023, a gain of 53.9% from the prior year. That helped it to a net profit of $18.8 million compared to a net loss of $47.9 million in 2022. Rare disease pharmaceuticals accounted for $112.1 million in sales last year, 23% of the company's overall revenue.

As of January, ANI had 642 employees. Alimera has approximately 160 employees.