Abbott to shell out $560M for eye surgery, stent companies

Abbott Labs will acquire a laser cataract surgery system in its $250 million deal for OptiMedica.--Courtesy of OptiMedica

Sick of the slump in its medical devices segment, Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) has signed two deals to boost its med tech market share, agreeing to trade more than half a billion dollars for a maker of cataract laser surgery devices and a stent developer.

Abbott will pay $310 million for IDEV Technologies, maker of a CE marked, self-expanding nitinol stent to treat peripheral artery disease (PAD). Separately, Abbott has signed on to acquire OptiMedica for $250 million up front and up to $150 million in milestones, marking the company's entrance to laser-assisted cataract surgery market. The deals are expected to close by year's end.

First, IDEV: The Texas company has developed SUPERA Veritas, a stent designed to mimic the body's natural function while propping open vessels in the thigh and knee and alleviating PAD. The device is in the midst of an FDA review, Abbott said, using data from studies on more than 1,500 patients around the world.

Abbott plans to pay $310 million for IDEV Technologies and its SUPERA Veritas stent.--Courtesy of IDEV Technologies

In OptiMedica, Abbott sees the future of its eye care business, counting on the company's Catalys Precision Laser System to guide its entré into the growing market for laser-guided ocular surgery. The system is both FDA-cleared and CE marked, and, projecting there will be about 22 million cataract surgeries performed around the globe this year, Abbott believes the deal will complement its intraocular lens business and make it a world leader in vision care.

And the new blood could go a long way in reversing Abbott's sluggish device sales. Last quarter, vascular revenue dropped 7.7% total and 19.3% in the U.S. alone as the company transitions away from last-generation stents and struggles with mounting competition. Abbott's optics business stayed about flat on the quarter, posting $270 million in sales as meager international growth made up for a 2% decline in U.S. revenue.

But, between the promise of SUPERA Veritas and the warm reception for Absorb, Abbott's dissolving scaffold, CEO Miles White believes Abbott Vascular is due for a turnaround. The company launched its Xience Xpedition drug-eluting stent in Japan last month, expecting to snag a sizable share of that market, and the company is on track to be the first company with a dissolving stent on U.S. shelves, working through the FDA process for Absorb.

- read the IDEV statement
- get more on the OptiMedica deal