Abbott closes $250M deal for eye surgery biz

Abbott Laboratories bought OptiMedica and its laser cataract surgery system for $250 million.--Courtesy of OptiMedica

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) is still crawling through some sluggish sales in its medical device business, and now the company has traded $250 million for a share of the growing laser-assisted cataract surgery market in a move to reverse revenue trends.

With its July-announced deal for OptiMedica now closed, Abbott is still on the line for up to $150 million more, tied to the completion of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones.

In the meantime, the Illinois drug and device giant can start reaping the benefits of OptiMedica's Catalys Precision Laser System, an FDA-cleared and CE marked device Abbott believes will usher it into the future of eye care. OptiMedica's system replaces many manual steps in cataract surgery with image-guided laser technology, Abbott said, making for safer and more precise procedures.

Abbott figures there will be about 22 million cataract surgeries performed around the globe this year, a number expected only to increase, making OptiMedica's technology the perfect complement to its line of intraocular lenses.

"OptiMedica's technology combined with Abbott's global market presence offer the potential to provide advanced cataract treatment options to more patients around the world," Abbott Medical Optics Vice President Murthy Simhambhatla said in a statement.

Abbott announced its up-to-$400 million deal for OptiMedica the same day it agreed to acquire stent maker IDEV Technologies for $310 million, a two-pronged M&A strategy aimed to bolster revenue in the company's less-than-exploding vascular and medical optics businesses.

Last quarter, Abbott's vascular sales dropped 2.7% to $389 million as the company transitioned away from last-generation stents and struggled with mounting competition. The optics segment slipped about 1.2%, posting $280 million in sales on the quarter.

- read Abbott's announcement