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AMO is known for its intraocular lenses. Image courtesy: Frank C. Müller
News, Lenses, Equipment, Tech, Business

J&J enters cataract market through acquisition

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to buy ophthalmic equipment supplier Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), marking its entry into the cataract surgery market.
Ashley McEvoy, J&J Vision Care company group chairman
Ashley McEvoy, J&J Vision Care company group chairman

The US$4.3 billion (AU$5.7 b) acquisition of Abbott Laboratories' wholly-owned subsidiary will include ophthalmic products in three business segments: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health.

"Eye health is one of the largest, fastest-growing and most underserved segments in healthcare today," J&J Vision Care company group chairman Ms Ashley McEvoy said.

"With the acquisition of AMO's strong and differentiated surgical ophthalmic portfolio, coupled with our world-leading Acuvue contact lens business, we will become a more broad-based leader in vision care.

"Importantly, with this acquisition we will enter cataract surgery - one of the most-commonly-performed surgeries and the number one cause of preventable blindness."

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 20 million people are blind from age-related cataracts and there are at least 100 million eyes with compromised visual acuity caused by cataracts. These numbers are believed to be rising due to population growth and increasing life expectancy.

It was said that AMO, which reported sales of US$1.1 billion (AU$1.5 b) in 2015, is a global leader in ophthalmic surgery and is known for the intraocular lenses it produces for use in cataract surgery, presenting an attractive growth opportunity for J&J in a new market.

In addition to the cataract business, AMO has advanced laser vision (LASIK) technologies designed to enhance surgeon productivity and correct near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism.

The acquisition will also include AMO's consumer eye-health products, such as its non-prescription eye drops for dry eye and its multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems for contact lens patients.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.

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