Abbott wins FDA nod for eye implant

Abbott won FDA approval for its Tecnis Toric eye implant.--Courtesy of Abbott

Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) is working to reverse the fortunes of its lagging medical devices business, launching a now-FDA-approved eye implant for cataract patients.

The Tecnis Toric intraocular lens has won the agency's blessing, Abbott said, and the implant is designed to replace lenses removed in cataract surgery, correcting patients' loss of focus caused by corneal astigmatism. The lens is already CE marked and available overseas and in Canada.

Abbott is kicking off U.S. sales of the device, looking to cash in on the more than 3.5 million cataract surgery procedures performed here each year. The median age for cataract patients is 68, Abbott says, and as the U.S. population ages, the company expects the number of procedures to tick up about 3% annually, creating a sizable market for Tecnis Toric.

And Abbott's revenue could use a shot in the arm. The company's medical devices arm endured a 4.6% sales drop in the first quarter, and a 2% decline in U.S. medical optics revenue did little to help Abbott's plummeting stateside vascular sales. Cataract devices account for about 60% of Abbott's optics sales, and the company is counting on the U.S. launch of Tecnis Toric and the Japanese marketing of Tecnis OptiBlue to boost performance in 2013.

Meanwhile, Bausch + Lomb is working through the FDA process for its postcataract intraocular lens, winning an FDA panel nod for Trulign Toric earlier this month.

- read Abbott's announcement