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LensAR raises further funding

14 Mar 2012

Injection of $24 million comes as the second clinical installation of its femtosecond cataract system approaches.

LensAR, headquartered in Florida and one of the major players in the use of femtosecond laser sources for cataract surgery, has closed a new round of private financing.

The company has raised $24 million including investment from Aisling Capital and Florida Growth Fund. This represents a substantial increase over the company's recent funding rounds; in August 2011 it raised $5 million of a targeted $6 million in a mixed securities offering.

The increase reflects that fact the company's femtosecond laser platform, one of a number of competing systems exploiting the use of such sources for ophthalmology procedures, is beginning to move out into the market. LensAR has stated that the new funding will be targeted specifically at supporting the first commercial shipments of the LensAR laser system in the United States, Europe and select other markets.

Preparations for the installation of LensAR's second clinical system are nearing completion, at the Instituto de Ojos Sacro Cuore in Lima, Peru.

The first LensAR system in clinical use is installed at the Asian Eye Institute in the Philippines. Clinicians there have already spoken of the benefits of LensAR's propriety ocular measurement and 3D laser scanning technologies, used to assess the condition of the lens and to locate the incisions required in the procedure.

The market for femtosecond-based cataract surgery is predicted to boom in the near future, as an aging population leads to a steep growth in the number of potential patients. Moving to femtosecond lasers rather than using ultrasonic blades or similar devices allows ophthalmologists to make precise incisions in the lens, and to exercise greater control over the process.

As a result the sector is now very attractive, and other developers are also active in the market:

OptiMedica officially launched its Catalys laser system in the United States in February 2012, with the first procedures being performed at the Mann Eye Institute in Houston. Catalys incorporates an optical coherence tomography imaging facility to improve the positional accuracy of the capsulotomy incisions, and was used for the first time in Europe at the University Eye Clinic Bochum, Germany, at the end of 2011.

The LenSx platform, developed by Alcon since its purchase of LenSx company in 2010, was recently used in the UK's first cataract procedure using a femtosecond laser, carried out at the London Eye Hospital. The system is already installed at several clinics in the US, Europe and Australia.

The Victus platform, a femtosecond-laser-based system developed by Technolas PV along with Bausch + Lomb to treat cataract, refractive and therapeutic procedures on the same platform, was unveiled in September 2011. Originally a joint-venture between Bausch + Lomb and 20/10 Perfect Vision, Technolas PV has been under the full control of Bausch + Lomb since the same month.

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