Alcon has acquired PowerVision, a privately-held, US-based medical device development company focused on creating fluid-based intraocular lens (IOL) implants.
Commercial availability of PowerVision's IOL technology will be determined following significant additional development and clinical trials of the intraocular lens.
"As the industry leader in cataract surgery, we're eager to accelerate development of this potentially breakthrough accommodating lens technology," said Michael Onuscheck, President of Global Business and Innovation. "By treating cataracts and restoring natural, continuous range of vision, this intraocular lens may be the preferred IOL for cataract surgery patients who desire spectacle independence."
PowerVision's lens design utilizes the eye's natural accommodating response to transport fluid in the intraocular lens which is implanted in the eye's capsular bag. While most presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses use a multifocal design that distributes light between different focal points, PowerVision's groundbreaking fluid-based design creates a continuously variable monofocal lens, utilizing the natural contraction of the eye's muscles. This technology allows the patient to actively focus on objects, just as the natural crystalline lens does in a youthful eye, providing patients with a natural, continuous range of vision.
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"We're thrilled to officially join Alcon and its pioneering history of launching new innovation in the field of ophthalmology," said Barry Cheskin, President and CEO and Co-Founder of PowerVision. "We look forward to bringing this innovative IOL technology to eye care providers and customers in the years ahead."
While basic, monofocal IOLs are most commonly used for cataract surgery, AT-IOLs, including those that correct presbyopia, are improving patient outcomes and fulfilling desire among patients for spectacle independence. Alcon leads the industry in global IOL share and estimates double-digit growth in AT-IOLs, largely driven by new innovations.
Under the terms of the agreement, Alcon paid $285 million to PowerVision at closing with additional payments based on specified regulatory and commercial milestones starting in 2023. Alcon is maintaining its 2023 financial outlook provided at the Capital Markets Days in the fourth quarter of 2018.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that affects vision. As a cataract develops, the eye's lens gradually becomes hard and cloudy which scatters light rays and allows less light to pass through, which makes it more difficult to see. The vast majority of cataracts happen as a result of normal aging but radiation exposure, taking steroids, diabetes, and eye trauma can accelerate the development of cataracts. Additionally, cataracts can be hereditary and congenital and can present shortly after birth. Cataracts are the most common age-related eye condition and the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults 55 and older in the US. Twenty million people age 40 and older have cataracts in the US alone. Cataracts are treated by surgically removing the eye's cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). More than 98 percent of cataract surgeries are considered successful and patients can usually return to their normal routines within 24 hours.
Presbyopia is an eye condition that occurs as part of natural aging. It involves the gradual loss of the eye's ability to actively focus on close objects, such as smart phones, computers, books and menus. The first signs of presbyopia are eyestrain, difficulty seeing up close in dim light and problems focusing on small objects and/or fine print. Once a person is in their 40s, it is likely they will experience presbyopia and will require vision correction such as reading glasses or multifocal contact lenses.