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Abbott to Acquire Visiogen, Expanding Vision Care Portfolio

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. and IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott (NYSE: ABT) announced today a definitive agreement to acquire Visiogen, Inc. for $400 million in cash, providing the company with a next-generation accommodating intraocular lens (IOL) technology to address presbyopia for cataract patients.

Visiogen, a privately held company based in Irvine, Calif., with European operations in Karlsruhe, Germany, is an ophthalmic medical device company specializing in the development of new vision alternatives for patients with cataracts.

"This acquisition demonstrates Abbott's continued commitment to vision care and our desire to introduce and accelerate technologies that have the ability to make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world," said John M. Capek, executive vice president, Medical Devices, Abbott. "Combining Visiogen's accommodating lens technology with Abbott's existing medical optics portfolio expands our ability to offer a diverse set of refractive options to our ophthalmic customers and the patients they serve."

"We are thrilled to join forces with Abbott to bring this much-anticipated technology to market," said Reza Zadno, founder, CEO and president of Visiogen, Inc. "The global clinical results with Synchrony(R) are extremely encouraging, and the opportunity to leverage Abbott Medical Optics' extensive commercialization infrastructure means that many more patients will benefit from this exciting advancement in cataract and presbyopia correction."

Visiogen's accommodating IOL, called Synchrony, is designed to deliver improved vision at all distances, potentially eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses, reducing glare and nighttime halos, and improving contrast sensitivity.

Intraocular lenses are implanted in a patient's eye after the removal of the natural lens that has become clouded by a cataract. Conventional monofocal IOLs are designed to focus primarily at a distance and not to correct presbyopia, an age-related change in vision in which the eye's lens can no longer adjust its focal length to allow clear vision at different distances. A common symptom of presbyopia is blurry close-up vision. Presbyopia usually begins after the age of 40 and is estimated to affect more than 1 billion people worldwide.

Visiogen's Synchrony accommodating IOL is a significant advancement in artificial lens technology. The unique design of the Synchrony lens is designed to mimic the eye's natural capacity to change focus (accommodation), with the potential to deliver a full range of vision. Synchrony has been implanted in more than 1,200 eyes and has been the subject of extensive clinical studies both in the U.S. and internationally. Synchrony has received CE mark designation and has been available commercially in Europe since January 2009. It also is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Visiogen's Synchrony lens allows Abbott Medical Optics to enter the growing accommodating IOL segment and enhances our premium IOL portfolio that includes the Tecnis(R) Multifocal lens," said Jim Mazzo, senior vice president, Abbott, and president, Abbott Medical Optics.

Abbott entered the vision care segment following its February 2009 acquisition of Advanced Medical Optics. Abbott Medical Optics offers a range of cataract, refractive and corneal products designed to meet the needs of patients who suffer from a wide range of vision disorders and seek greater freedom from the limitations of eyeglasses.

This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009. This transaction does not impact Abbott's previously issued earnings-per-share guidance for 2009.

J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Visiogen.

About Visiogen

Visiogen, Inc. is focused on developing innovative products for cataract and refractive patients. Founded in 2001 and located in Irvine, Calif., Visiogen's first commercial application, the Synchrony, a 3-dimensional, dual-optic accommodating intraocular lens and pre-loaded injector, was commercially released in Europe in 2009. The results of the U.S. IDE study, completed in 2009, are currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information about Visiogen and the Synchrony accommodating IOL can be found at

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 72,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at

Abbott Forward Looking Statement

Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Abbott cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect Abbott's operations are discussed in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," to our Annual Report on Securities and Exchange Commission Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and are incorporated by reference. Abbott undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments.

About Visiogen

Visiogen, Inc. is an ophthalmic medical device company specializing in the development of new vision alternatives for patients with cataracts and presbyopia.

  • Headquarters: Irvine, Calif.
  • Employees: Approx. 65
  • Founded: 2001

Synchrony(R) Dual Optic Accommodating Intraocular Lens (IOL): Is a leading-edge ophthalmic technology, incorporating a 3-dimensional, dual-optic accommodating intraocular lens and pre-loaded injector. The device's unique physiologic design is intended to mimic the natural function of the human eye and to enable patients to see at all distances without the need for glasses or contact lenses while delivering excellent contrast sensitivity with reducing side effects (glare and halos). Synchrony has received CE mark designation and was commercially released in Europe in 2009. It is also currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

About Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an age-related change in vision in which the eye's lens can no longer adjust its focal length to allow clear vision at different distances. A common symptom is blurry close-up vision. This loss of flexibility accommodation usually begins after age 40. The condition is estimated to affect more than 1 billion people worldwide.

IOL Technology

  • Intraocular lens (IOL): An artificial lens (usually made of acrylic or silicone) that is surgically implanted into the eye to replace the natural lens following cataract extraction. IOL technologies include:
    • Monofocal IOL: Provides vision at one distance only and typically requires patient to wear reading glasses.
    • Multifocal IOLs: Designed to provide vision at all distances (near, intermediate, distance) and majority of patients no longer require reading glasses.
    • Accommodating IOLs: Designed to address presbyopia and loss of flexibility of natural lens due to aging by mimicking the ability of the natural lens to change focus, allowing the patient to see at all distances.

Market Size

  • Total current IOL market is estimated at $1.9 billion, growing to $2.7 billion by 2014*.
  • Accommodating IOLs are projected to grow to $600 million by 2014 (more than 20 percent of total IOL market)*.
  • In the U.S., only accommodating IOLs and multifocal IOLs are eligible for Medicare-reimbursement for correction of presbyopia.

* Source: MarketScope

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