Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has withdrawn its offer to acquire Ista Pharmaceuticals, a fortnight after upping its bid for the eye specialist.

Just before Christmas, Valeant's $6.50 per share offer, which valued Ista at $314 million, was dismissed as "grossly inadequate" by the latter. However, Valeant then raised its initial proposal to $7.50 per share in cash and set a target price of $8.50 per share in cash, subject to one week of due diligence.

At the time, Ista said it would offer Valeant a look at its books if it signed a confidentiality agreement, but that option is also open for other companies interested in acquiring the firm. However, Valeant is clearly not interested in getting into a bidding war and chief executive Michael Pearson said, as previously stated,"we were not interested in participating in a lengthy evaluation process and we are disappointed that the Ista team was not willing to fully explore our proposal by January 31".

He added that "we continue to be disciplined on our M&A strategy and we are actively working on other opportunities that we believe can create value for our shareholders. We wish the Ista team well in their future endeavours".

In response, Ista said it will continue its previously-announced review of all strategic options, adding that the latter is "advancing expeditiously".  Chief executive Vicente Anido said "it was clear Valeant was only interested in an approach that would have effectively excluded others" but "there were simply too many other companies that had indicated strong interest in Ista for us to take that approach".