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C&C Vision: Small Company, Big Vision

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Presbyopia, the inability to focus close-up that come with aging, represents a blockbuster market opportunity since virtually everyone eventually suffers from the condition. The success of LASIK (laser surgery for vision correction) has created a demand on the part of patients and physicians for an alternative to glasses for the middle aged. C&C Vision hopes to be the first to offer a surgical treatment for presbyopia. Like others going after the market, however, C&C aims to validate its technology by addressing a medical need first: it is initially targeting cataracts. In doing so, however, it faces the risk of sidling up to, rather than directly attacking, the presbyopia market upon which it desires to be valued.

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WaveTec Prepares for a New Wave in Refractive Surgery

Refractive lens exchange is a mega opportunity in ophthalmology with the potential to serve the large patient populations with presbyopia and astigmatism. The category has been slow to take off, however, because current technology doesn't allow clinicians to meet, consistently and with confidence, the high expectations of new refractive surgery customers who are paying out of pocket for the benefit of great vision, at all distances. WaveTec has an enabling technology for a wide range of refractive surgeries to help clinicians and the many manufacturers of implantable intraocular lenses deliver on the promise of better vision.

NuLens Ltd.

Today, most of the accommodating and multifocal IOLs that address presbyopia share one thing in common: they are placed, as are the standard lenses used in routine cataract procedures, inside the capsular bag, a thin membrane surrounding the eye's natural lens. It's becoming increasingly apparent that over time, the capsular bag undergoes changes that compromise visual results. NuLens came up with the idea of not using the capsular bag as the housing for the accommodating lens.

AMO Puts a New Spin on Ophthalmic Devices

Once part of Allergan, Advanced Medical Optics was spun off when its parent company wanted to focus on pharmaceuticals. Executives of the new company believe that life as an independent medical device company gives it the freedom to operate and the focus it needs to thrive in the ophthalmic device market. In the spin-out, AMO got market-leading brands with an almost 40 year history, an ophthalmic sales force that has just about the longest continuity in the industry, and strong management with a track record more than two decades long. But with its new start, AMO also inherited a large debt load, a thin R&D pipeline, and products that serve markets with single-digit growth prospects. It's challenge:to create innovative new products in an industry where it can't hope to match, in terms of R&D spending and the cash it can spend on acquisitions, competitors three times its size. AMO's strategy is to become a specialty medical device company, serving largely ophthalmic surgeons, with a narrow focus on three segments; cataract surgery, refractive surgery, and eye care solutions. It argues that in ophthalmology, bigger isn't better, and that with a nimble corporate structure concentrating on a few hand-picked areas that build off of core strengths, its R&D and business development dollars will go far in helping it become an industry innovator.

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