Alcon Acquires PowerVision for $285 Million

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Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, acquired fluid-based intraocular lens maker PowerVision Inc. for $285 million. Alcon made the acquisition ahead of its being spun out by Novartis into its own standalone company. The company said it will bring the PowerVision lens to cataract patients across the globe.

PowerVision, based in Tennessee, was formed to develop fluid-based accommodating intraocular lenses for cataract surgery patients. Alcon said the acquisition of PowerVision demonstrates its commitment to “driving growth and innovation in advanced technology intraocular lenses (AT-IOLS) to meet the needs of cataract surgery patients who desire spectacle independence.” The fluid-based intraocular lens uses the eye’s natural accommodative response to provide near and intermediate vision, Alcon said in its announcement. Additionally, the IOLs boost distance vision in patients.

Alcon said that commercial availability of PowerVision’s IOL technology will be determined following significant additional development and clinical trials of the intraocular lens. Alcon is the global leader in IOL and said it estimates double-digit growth in AT-IOLs, largely driven by new innovations.

Barry Checkin, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of PowerVision, said the company is thrilled to join Alcon and looks forward to that company being able to bring its AT-IOL treatment to the market.

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Under terms of the agreement, Alcon paid $285 million for PowerVision. Additional undisclosed payments will be made to the company based on specified regulatory and commercial milestones starting in 2023, Alcon said. Alcon is maintaining its 2023 financial outlook provided at the Capital Markets Days in the fourth quarter of 2018. In the announcement, there was no information regarding the future of the current employees of PowerVision.

Michael Onuscheck, Alcon’s president of global business and innovation, said the company is eager to accelerate development of the “potentially breakthrough accommodating lens technology.”

“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,” Onuscheck said in a statement.

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that affects vision. It is estimated that cataracts affect about 20 million people in the United States alone. Surgery is the typical treatment for cataract patients. The eye’s cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens.

PowerVision’s lens is also being developed for patients with presbyopia, which involves the gradual loss of the eye's ability to actively focus on close objects, such as smartphones, computers, books and menus. The IOL developed by PowerVision used the eye's natural accommodating response to transport fluid in the intraocular lens which is implanted in the eye's capsular bag. Alcon said the PowerVision IOL uses a multifocal design that distributes light between different focal points to benefit presbyopia patients. 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, Alcon said.

Alcon was founded in 1947 in Fort Worth as a small ophthalmic pharmaceutical business. Novartis acquired Alcon for $52 billion in 2011. Alcon has annual sales of about $7 billion. In September, Novartis moved Alcon’s headquarters from Texas to Switzerland.

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