Los Angeles Business Journal

Staar Receives Two Overseas Approvals for Visian

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shares of Staar Surgical Co. jumped 11 percent on Tuesday after the maker of implantable eye lenses said it had received regulatory approval to sell a product in Korea and Argentina.

The Monrovia ophthalmic company said Monday it plans to launch its Visian implantable lens next month in Korea where it will train 100 eye surgeons. The lens corrects nearsightedness and other vision problems.

"The refractive procedure market in Korea is both significant and fast growing, so this represents a very important milestone for us,” Don Todd, president of the company’s Asia Pacific Region, said in a statement.

Korea has 49 million people and about 138,000 refractive procedures were performed last year, the company said. Woo Jeon VT is the Korean distributor for Visian and other Staar products.

Argentina has a population of about 42 million; about 22,000 refractive procedures were performed there last year. But the company is still excited about the approval.

"This is strategically an important approval for our company as Latin America is historically an early adopter of elective procedures, so this provides a critical gateway in our ability to expand in this market,” said Hans Blickensdoerfer, president of Staar’s Latin America division.

Shares on Tuesday closed up $1.04, or 11 percent, to $10.51 on the Nasdaq.