Company Is Building Direct Refractive Sales Force, Retaining Cataract Sales
Force and Lowering Operating Costs
MONROVIA, Calif., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STAAR Surgical Company (Nasdaq: STAA) today reported progress in its deployment of a direct U.S. sales force dedicated to selling the Company's Visian(TM) Implantable Collamer(R) Lens (ICL(TM)) and in the retention of key sales representatives for its cataract products. In addition, the Company has taken actions expected to yield annualized cost savings of approximately $1.5 million in its U.S. operations and is actively studying additional strategies to further reduce operating costs.
"In early August we outlined our strategy to create a separate direct refractive sales team in the U.S. for our Visian ICL comprised of proctoring specialists and practice development specialists led by regionally based refractive sales managers. To date, we have successfully recruited a seasoned staff of 15 people out of our total target group of 18," said David Bailey, President and CEO of STAAR Surgical.
"In addition, we modified the structure of our cataract sales force in the U.S., moving to a more focused effort led by three regional managers," continued Mr. Bailey. "This newly aligned cataract sales team consists of both direct and independent salespeople. We are especially pleased that in the two regions previously managed under the Company's recently expired Regional Manufacturer's Representative contracts, a majority of the targeted independent territory representatives have agreed to stay with STAAR. This is a significant step in maintaining continuity and quality service for STAAR's current U.S. cataract customer base while we make the transition to a leaner, specialized and more flexible go-to-market strategy in support of this important part of our business. This group will focus on selling our cataract products, while the refractive teams will manage the very different demands of building a market for the ICL, including the intensive long-term follow-up necessary to assist refractive customers in integrating the ICL into their practices. Our goal is to have all elements of the revamped sales organization in the field by the end of October 2007 and to be ready for a strong showing at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in early November."
"In a determined effort to efficiently manage cash resources in our U.S. operations, we have taken the first step in an expected series of actions aimed at restoring profitability," added Deborah Andrews, Chief Financial Officer. "Recently we implemented cost-cutting actions in our U.S. operations that are expected to yield approximately $1.5 million in annualized savings. Other across-the-board efforts are underway, which we believe will yield significant additional savings. We plan to continue to explore additional opportunities to drive down costs and maximize existing cash resources as we execute our sales and marketing plan focused on delivering meaningful top line growth. We will update investors on the results of this work during our third quarter conference call," Ms. Andrews concluded.
About STAAR Surgical
STAAR Surgical is a leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of minimally invasive ophthalmic products employing proprietary technologies. STAAR's products are used by ophthalmic surgeons and include the Visian ICL, a tiny, flexible lens implanted to correct refractive errors, as well as innovative products designed to improve patient outcomes for cataracts and glaucoma. Manufactured in Switzerland by STAAR, the ICL is approved by the FDA for use in treating myopia, has received CE Marking and is sold in more than 40 countries. More than 85,000 ICLs have been sold worldwide. More information is available at http://www.staar.com
Forward Looking Statements
All statements in this press release that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including any statements of the plans, strategies, and objectives of management for future operations, any statements regarding the Company's intent in restructuring its sales force or the prospects for that restructuring to be completed or successful, statements about the savings expected to be yielded by the Company's cost-cutting programs or its plans for additional cost-cutting programs, any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, statements of belief and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These statements are based on expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release and are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties include our limited capital resources and limited access to financing, the challenge of moving from a largely independent marketing model to a mixed direct and independent model, including the need to recruit, train and retain skilled sales personnel, our ability to successfully introduce new or enhanced products, our ability to overcome negative publicity resulting from warning letters and other correspondence from the FDA Office of Compliance, the willingness of surgeons and patients to adopt a new product and procedure, our ability to realize savings from our cost-cutting strategies if we encounter unexpected costs or contingencies, the need to obtain FDA approval to introduce new products, our ability to successfully market the ICL in the U.S. while overcoming the foregoing challenges, and other factors beyond our control, including those detailed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. STAAR assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or actual outcomes and does not intend to do so.
CONTACT: Investors Media
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Douglas Sherk, 415-896-6820 Jen Saunders, 646-201-5431
Jennifer Beugelmans, 646-201-5447
|SOURCE STAAR Surgical Company|
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