Abbott enters laser cataract surgery business with OptiMedica buy

Abbott Labs logo

(Reuters) – Abbott Inc said on Monday that it would enter the laser cataract surgery business by buying privately held OptiMedica Corp for up to $400 million and in a separate deal would pay $310 million for stent maker Idev Technologies.

The deals follow Abbott’s spinout earlier this of its branded prescription business into a separate company, AbbVie Inc. Abbott now focuses on medical devices, nutritional products and generic medicines.

Doctors perform most cataract surgeries by hand, Abbott said, but OptiMedica’s Catalys laser system would allow them to replace some of the manual steps with its computer-guided technology.

The suburban Chicago company said it would pay $250 million for OptiMedica, net of cash, and make additional payments of up to $150 million upon completion of certain development, regulatory or sales milestones. The Catalys system is approved for use in the United States and Europe in procedures that remove the crystalline lens, a part of the eye that can become clouded and impair vision.

Abbott said an estimated 22 million cataract surgeries would be performed globally this year. Abbott already sells other products involved in cataract surgery and care, including lenses used to replace the removed natural lens.

In a separate announcement, Abbott said it would pay $310 million net of cash and debt for all outstanding equity of Idev and its Supera Veritas nitinol stent system. The product is approved in Europe to treat blockages in blood vessels of the leg caused by peripheral artery disease.

Supera Veritas is only approved in the United States for treatment of narrowed bile ducts, related to cancer.

Shares of Abbott were down 0.3 percent at $35.22 in early trading.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)

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