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STAAR Surgical Company (STAA) Completes Purchase of Canon's Interest in Japanese Joint Venture Transaction Boosts Presence in Expanding Asian Surgical Market

1/2/2008 6:14:12 AM

MONROVIA, Calif., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/-- STAAR Surgical Company , a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of minimally invasive ophthalmic products, today announced that it has completed the purchase of the interests of all other shareholders in Canon Staar Co., Inc., a joint venture that was formed by STAAR, Canon Inc. and Canon Marketing Japan, Inc. in 1988 to develop, manufacture and sell in Japan products using STAAR's technology. Canon Staar, which generated $10.4 million in revenue during fiscal 2006, has been renamed STAAR Japan, Inc. and has become a wholly owned subsidiary of STAAR operating directly in the Japanese market. The transaction significantly increases STAAR's direct presence in the high growth Asian surgical marketplace.

"This transaction represents a major milestone for STAAR Surgical," said Barry Caldwell, President and CEO. "While Canon was a positive strategic partner of ours for nearly 20 years, our agreements with them created some significant limitations regarding potential strategic options and those are now removed. We now have a direct marketing and selling presence in Japan, one of the largest ophthalmic surgical markets in the world. At its current sales levels, we continue to expect that STAAR Japan will add in excess of $12 million of revenue to STAAR Surgical in 2008. In addition, the acquisition gives STAAR exclusive control over the rights to use our patents and other proprietary technology in Japan, China and worldwide while strengthening our intellectual property position in areas such as Preloaded Injectors," added Mr. Caldwell.

"We welcome the employees of Canon Staar to the STAAR Surgical family and we are particularly pleased that Mr. Isamu Kamijo, who served as general manager of Canon Staar, has become President of STAAR Japan," said David Bailey, President of STAAR international operations. "Mr. Kamijo's leadership will aid the integration of STAAR Japan into our international operations and he will continue to lead our effort to seek approval from the Japanese regulatory authorities to market in Japan STAAR's Visian(R) ICL(TM), Collamer(R) IOL and AquaFlow(R) Device. In addition, I look forward to working with him to capitalize on the significant opportunities for our products and technology in Japan and throughout Asia. Our International business has been growing significantly and is profitable; the integration of this business in Japan should enhance these trends.

At closing, STAAR paid to the Canon companies $4 million in cash and 1.7 million newly issued shares of Series A Convertible Preferred Stock. The Series A Convertible Preferred Stock will be convertible into common stock at a one-to-one ratio, and under certain circumstances will be redeemable for cash at $4 per share.

Canon Staar's Preloaded Injector, currently approved for sale in Japan and China employs a state-of-the-art silicone aspheric IOL and has been expanded to incorporate a hydrophobic acrylic lens supplied by Nidek Co., Ltd. under an arrangement that will continue after the transaction. Nidek has also acted as a Japanese subdistributor for Canon Staar's silicone Preloaded Injectors, and STAAR anticipates that Nidek will continue to handle this sales channel for STAAR Japan.

About STAAR Surgical

STAAR is a leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of minimally invasive ophthalmic products employing proprietary technologies. STAAR's products are used by ophthalmic surgeons and include the Visian ICL, a tiny, flexible lens implanted to correct refractive errors, as well as innovative products designed to improve patient outcomes for cataracts and glaucoma. Manufactured in Switzerland by STAAR, the ICL is approved by the FDA for use in treating myopia, has received CE Marking and is sold in more than 40 countries. More information is available at

Forward Looking Statements

All statements in this press release that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the prospects for the STAAR Japan business and its products, the prospects for integrating the STAAR Japan business into STAAR's international business and any resulting benefit to STAAR, and any other statements of the plans, strategies, and objectives of management for future operations, any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, statements of belief and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These statements are based on expectations and assumptions as of the date of this press release and are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties include the risk that STAAR may not successfully integrate the Canon Staar business or employees into its overall business, the risk that key employees of Canon Staar may leave after closing, the risk that removal of the Canon name from Canon Staar and its products may reduce its goodwill or the acceptance of its products, the risk that Canon Staar may not sustain current or prior sales levels or achieve projected levels, the risk that STAAR's limited access to information has limited its ability to assess the projections provided to STAAR by Canon Staar's management, the risk that Japanese regulators may not approve the sale of the ICL or Collamer, the risk of operating a foreign subsidiary with limited direct oversight, the risk that applying U.S. accounting standards and controls and procedures over financial reporting may be more difficult, more expensive or more time-consuming than anticipated, STAAR's need to rely on the completeness and accuracy of information provided during its investigation of Canon Staar's business, the risk that financing for additional working capital for STAAR Japan or STAAR as a whole may be more difficult to obtain than anticipated and may not be available on reasonable terms, if at all, and other factors beyond our control, including those detailed from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. STAAR assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or actual outcomes and does not intend to do so.

CONTACT: Investors, Douglas Sherk, +1-415-896-6820, or Jennifer
Beugelmans, +1-646-201-5447, or Media, Steve DiMattia, +1-646-201-5445, all
of EVC Group, for STAAR Surgical Company

Web site:

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