Bausch & Lomb, AcuFocus announce alliance for presbyopia-correcting technology

February 7, 2007

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb has made an equity investment in-and has secured an exclusive option to purchase-AcuFocus Inc., a privately held company in Irvine, CA, that is developing a corneal inlay (ACI 7000) for the treatment of presbyopia.

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb has made an equity investment in-and has secured an exclusive option to purchase-AcuFocus Inc., a privately held company in Irvine, CA, that is developing a corneal inlay (ACI 7000) for the treatment of presbyopia.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the inlay improves near vision in emmetropic patients as well as in those who have undergone LASIK surgery, according to Bausch & Lomb.

“We believe this pioneering technology has the potential to significantly enhance the alternatives available to the large population of presbyopic patients,” said Henry Tung, MD, corporate vice president and head of global surgical strategy for Bausch & Lomb.

Ed Peterson, president and chief executive officer of AcuFocus, said, “With Bausch & Lomb’s investment, we can accelerate and broaden our efforts to bring this exciting technology to refractive surgeons and their patients.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In other news, Bausch & Lomb announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has established a product-specific J-Code for its 0.59-mg fluocinolone acetonide intravitreal implant (Retisert), approved for the treatment of chronic noninfectious posterior segment uveitis.

The new billing code, J7311, became effective Jan. 1 and replaces the Medicare hospital outpatient code C9225, which had been available to hospitals for billing Medicare when the implant was used in a hospital outpatient setting.

CMS also has published a J7311 payment rate of $19,345, or 106% of the average sales price for the product. Private insurers may pay at different rates from Medicare.

“The establishment of a product-specific J-Code should help patients get timely access to this innovative therapy,” said Michael O’Rourke, general manager of the U.S. pharmaceutical business for Bausch & Lomb. “It will also help hospitals and physicians bill accurately and uniformly for the product across the country.”