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Medennium Announces Sale of PRL to CIBA Vision.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers


IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2003

Medennium Inc. of Irvine, today announced that it has signed an agreement with CIBA Vision, the Eye Care affiliate of Swiss-based Novartis, in which CIBA has agreed to purchase Medennium's Phakic Refractive Lens (PRL(TM)) product.

In July 2000, CIBA had signed an exclusive worldwide marketing licensing agreement with Medennium for the PRL and has been marketing it since then. In this recently signed agreement, CIBA is acquiring all intellectual property rights, product registrations and certain tangible assets related to the PRL.

In announcing the agreement, Medennium's President and CEO, Jacob Feldman, said that "This transaction will allow Medennium to focus on development of the next generation technology of the SmartLens(TM), an injectable, full-sized, accommodating, intraocular lens (IOL) which we believe can be the leading technology for the emerging accommodating lens market."

Privately held Medennium has recently introduced the SmartPlug(TM) Punctum Plug in the United States and many other countries to compete in the fast growing dry eye market. The SmartPlug utilizes the unique Smart Material developed by Medennium which changes shape when exposed to body temperature. In less than six months since the U.S. introduction, the SmartPlug has seized a significant market share which is continuing to grow rapidly. The U.S. dry eye medications and treatment market is estimated at more than $500 million annually.

The SmartLens utilizes a similar thermodynamic Smart Material inserted through a micro-incision and opens up to a full-sized lens in the eye replacing the cataractous lens.

It is believed that the soft, gel-like Smart Material will behave similar to the natural lens and allow for accommodation, or the ability of the lens to change shape and focal length, adjusting from far to near vision. The gradual loss of accommodation is called presbyopia and appears in virtually everyone after age 40 and is almost complete by age 55 requiring many to use reading glasses for near vision.

Market Scope, the independent ophthalmic market industry information company, estimates the annual worldwide market for intraocular lenses at more than 10 million units with sales of $1.1 billion and overall cataract market revenue of $2.5 billion, making it the largest unit volume surgical procedure in the world. Market Scope estimates that by 2010, there will be a large and growing market for IOLs that can replace the cataract while restoring the accommodative function of patients, eliminating their need for reading glasses.

Market Scope has projected the worldwide IOL market to increase to nearly $2 billion by 2010, driven by new IOL technologies including accommodating IOLs.

The terms of the sale agreement are undisclosed but they will allow Medennium to continue development of the SmartLens and increase its marketing efforts for the SmartPlug and other intraocular lens products, the Matrix Acrylic(TM), and Silicone SQ(TM) IOLs, designed for the foldable, small incision cataract surgery market.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 31, 2003
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