UPDATE 2-Abbott to buy cataract laser, leg stent businesses

Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:42pm EDT
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By Ransdell Pierson

July 15 (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 year 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, 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 the laser could make a more precise incision, often in a perfectly circular shape, and then help break up the damaged lens - which is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

It will compete with cataract laser products made by Bausch & Lomb and by Alcon, a division of Novartis AG. Abbott earlier this year had been rumored as a potential bidder for Bausch & Lomb, an eye products company that in May agreed to be purchased by Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc .   Continued...