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STAAR Surgical Launches Product to Improve Safety and Efficiency in Cataract Surgery

  • 2001-10-24
  • Press release

MONROVIA, Calif., Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- STAAR Surgical Company ("STAAR") announced today the introduction of the UltraVac(TM) V1 coiled tubing which significantly improves the safety and efficiency of 27% of the phacoemulsification machines currently in use throughout the world. The new product combines an industry proven and proprietary phaco cassette, specific to Venturi-type phaco systems manufactured by Bausch and Lomb, with STAAR's UltraVac(TM) coiled tubing. This combination allows the surgeon to increase vacuum during surgery while achieving unprecedented anterior chamber stability.

The UltraVac V1 is the first product to be produced out of an exclusive international licensing and distribution agreement between STAAR and Surgin Surgical Instruments, Inc., a longtime manufacturer of ophthalmic and other medical products. The companies have agreed to share proprietary technologies in order to better position themselves in this segment of the increasingly competitive cataract market.

"The agreement with Surgin allows STAAR to enter into a new segment of the market that represents approximately 50 million dollars in annual sales in the US alone," said David Bailey, President and CEO of STAAR. "This will also give STAAR access to customers with whom STAAR has not traditionally done business." Bailey went on to add, "The agreement is consistent with our overall strategy to drive annuity from our phaco technology while at the same time increasing our bundling capability. We will have a major launch of the product at the upcoming American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting and expect strong interest in what was a generic product which we have been able to make proprietary with the addition of STAAR's technology."

Phacoemulsification systems, equipment used to remove cataracts from the eye during surgery, fall into two distinct categories, peristaltic and venturi. They differ by the pumping mechanism used to achieve vacuum during surgery. "One of the major disadvantages of venturi systems has been the direct correlation between vacuum and flow," said Armand Maaskamp, President of Surgin, Inc. "The addition of the UltraVac coil breaks the link between vacuum and flow while maintaining the other benefits of venturi systems."

"I have always used a venturi system because I want quick vacuum but I was concerned about the potential for anterior chamber collapse particularly at higher vacuum levels," said Helen Seward, M.D., of Shirley Oaks Hospital in England. She added, "The UltraVac V1 eliminates that concern."

Founded in 1982, STAAR Surgical Company develops, manufactures and globally distributes medical devices for use in refractive, cataract and glaucoma surgery. The Company's five product lines include silicone and Collamer(TM) foldable intraocular lenses and the Sonic WAVE(TM) phacoemulsification system, all of which are used during cataract surgery, the ICL(TM) (implantable contact lens) that is a refractive lens for the treatment of near- and far-sightedness and the AquaFlow(TM) collagen glaucoma drainage device. Regulatory approvals vary from market to market with all products available in Europe and all except the ICL(TM) in the United States.

Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are based on expectations as of the date of a particular release. Actual results may differ materially from those projected because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in STAAR Surgical Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For additional information, about STAAR Surgical Company, visit the Company's web site at or . You may wish to contact David Bailey, President, STAAR Surgical, or John Santos, Chief Financial Officer, STAAR Surgical, at (626) 303-7902. To contact Bill Roberts, President, CTC, Inc., or Wayne Buckhout, CTC Inc., please call (937) 434-2700

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SOURCE STAAR Surgical Company

CONTACT: David Bailey, President, or John Santos, Chief Financial Officer of STAAR Surgical, +1-626-303-7902; or Bill Roberts, President, or Wayne Buckhout of CTC Inc., +1-937-434-2700/