Abbott buying OptiMedica for $400 mn to enter laser cataract surgery market

US pharmaceutical and health care products company Abbott Inc today announced plans to enter the laser cataract surgery market by buying OptiMedica Corp in a potential $400 million deal.

The Illinois-based company will buy privately held ophthalmic device company OptiMedica Corp for $250 million, plus $150 million upon completion of certain developments, regulatory or sales milestones.

The acquisition will allow Abbott to expand its vision care business into the femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery market.

Currently, most cataract procedures are performed manually, with the surgeon making incisions into the eye by hand.

OptiMedica's Catalys Precision Laser System is designed to allow surgeons to replace some of the technically demanding manual steps in cataract surgery with a precise, computer-guided, femtosecond laser technology.

A femtosecond laser can be used to make a variety of incisions during ocular surgery.

The Catalys laser system has been approved in Europe as well as by the US Food and Drug Administration.

"The acquisition of OptiMedica will provide Abbott with an entry point into the rapidly developing laser cataract surgery market," said Murthy Simhambhatla, senior vice president, Medical Optics, Abbott. "The Catalys laser system provides physicians with a state-of-the-art, computer-guided alternative in treating patients suffering from cataracts."

Abbott said the global demand for vision care is on the rise, as the worldwide population ages and the emerging middle class grows in developing nations. Nearly 22 million cataract surgeries will be performed globally in 2013.

Silicon Valley-based OptiMedica is backed by several venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Alloy Ventures, DAG Ventures, BlackRock and Bio*One Capital.