Alcon inks $466M deal for Belkin Vision's automated laser therapy for glaucoma

Alcon has bought up Belkin Vision and its laser device for treating glaucoma. 

The deal includes an upfront transfer of $81 million, including about $65 million in cash—plus the opportunity for up to $385 million more in sales-based milestone payments if Alcon can secure the technology as clinicians’ go-to option in first-line therapy.

Known as direct selective laser trabeculoplasty, or DSLT, the company’s automated procedure aims to help lower a patient’s intraocular pressure without medications or eyedrops, where untreated increases can cause damage to the optic nerve.

Belkin’s Eagle device delivers 120 pulses of laser energy to the trabecular meshwork located at the edges of the cornea, which helps drain excess fluid. The system differs from previous SLT approaches by employing eye-tracking technology for a potentially hands-off approach.

“As a therapy with significant advantages for the patient and practice, we believe our newly acquired DSLT technology is uniquely positioned to accelerate the evolution toward first-line use of SLT in the glaucoma treatment paradigm,” Sean Clark, president of Alcon’s global surgical franchise, said in a statement

DSLT has been approved in the EU and the U.K.; Alcon said the device has also obtained a 510(k) clearance from the FDA, but the system has not yet been made commercially available in the U.S.—which the company hopes to change before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Alcon’s glaucoma portfolio already includes implantable microstents such as the Hydrus as well as pharmaceutical drops. The company also said it plans to incorporate DSLT into its Alcon Vision Suite training platform for providers.

“We look forward to broadening access to this exciting technology in the future as we continue to address solutions for unmet needs in glaucoma,” Clark said.

A previous clinical trial showed SLT approaches can be a cost-effective primary treatment for open-angle glaucoma as well as ocular hypertension, reducing the need for repeated medications or surgical procedures, according to Alcon, and that automating the process can offer a more streamlined workflow.