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Eye Health Firm Raises $38M+

The company focuses on age-related macular degeneration.

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HARRISBURG, PA — MacuLogix Inc., which equips eyecare professionals with the instrument, tools and education to diagnose and treat patients with age-related macular degeneration, has completed a financing round totaling $38.7 million.

The Series D was led by new investor Vivo Capital with participation from existing investors Fisk Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, Berwind Private Equity and Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania. To date, MacuLogix has raised $51 million in venture funding plus $10 million in venture debt.

“AMD is the leading cause of adult blindness in the Western world because we haven’t had the technology or tools to effectively detect and manage this progressive, chronic disease – until now,” said William D. McPhee, president and CEO of MacuLogix. “Our company is determined to see AdaptDx functional testing become the standard of care, enabling eye care professionals to detect, treat and manage AMD earlier and more effectively.

“With this funding and the addition of Vivo Capital, we are fully backed by a strategic group of investors who support our company’s vision to eliminate blindness caused by AMD.”

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This funding will be used to further expand the MacuLogix team and company infrastructure to support the growing sales and practice integration efforts of the AdaptDx automated dark adaptometer, both domestically and internationally. Joining the MacuLogix board of directors with this round of funding are Jack B. Nielsen, managing director of Vivo Capital; Nathan Dau, principal of Vivo Capital; and Carole Nuechterlein, head of Roche Venture Fund. The remaining board members are:

  • William D. McPhee, President and CEO, MacuLogix
  • Gregory R. Jackson, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, MacuLogix
  • Stephen L. Rose, Managing Director of Fisk Ventures, LLC
  • Ronald P. Thiboutot, Ph.D., SVP of Science and Technology, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania

“Maculogix is entering a rapid commercial expansion phase and is a very good fit for our investment strategy,” Nielsen said. “The AdaptDx is uniquely situated to help patients being diagnosed at an early stage of AMD and enable better and earlier monitoring and treatment of the disease.”

New Harbor Venture Partners acted as the exclusive placement agent in this transaction.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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VSP Global Enters Brick-and-Mortar with 2 Stores

They’re located in Chicago.

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA – VSP Global enters brick-and-mortar retail with the opening of its first two Eyeconic stores in the country.

The stores are located in Chicago. They will serve as an extension of VSP’s ecommerce site, “connecting products, services and a VSP network doctor to retail-minded consumers who are looking for experiences that bridge the divide between digital and physical,” according to a press release.

“We are thrilled to bring the very first Eyeconic stores to Chicago and offer customers a differentiated eye care and eyewear experience,” said Bill Vaughan, president of VSP Retail. “Transparent prices and seamless digital and physical retail access are the cornerstones of our brand. And in partnership with a Doctor of Optometry, we now offer comprehensive eye exams using state-of-the-art technology to ensure eye health and wellness remains the focal point of our customer journey.”

As previously announced, VSP chose to launch the Eyeconic stores in Chicago “based on higher out-of-network claims the company was seeing at optical chains and mass retailers in the city.” VSP Vision Care is the nation’s largest not-for-profit vision benefits company and covers one in four people in the U.S., the release explains.

The first store, located at 1647 North Damen Ave., opened to the public on June 15 and will host a grand opening celebration on June 29. The second store, located at 916 W. Randolph St., will open to the public on July 13 and host a grand opening celebration on July 27.

“A strategic, wholly owned retail footprint helps meet client expectations and contributes to a healthy and competitive network,” said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. “By reducing out-of-network leakage, we also ensure members in Chicago are getting the most value out of their benefits — particularly those who fall into the 20 percent of consumers who prefer mass retail and online-based eyewear stores over private practice. This also opens new employment opportunities for VSP network doctors who desire to practice full-scope optometry in a retail setting.”

Each Eyeconic store will feature a selection of about 500 men’s, women’s and kids’ frames from over 30 brands. The stores will also offer all major brands of contact lenses.
Patients can schedule eye exams online and browse eyewear before coming in to see a VSP network doctor.

“As we conducted research, we identified a unique, uncommitted consumer who is looking for simplified shopping, transparency and convenience when it comes to their eye care and eyewear-buying experience,” said Vaughan. “We are building the Eyeconic brand to meet the needs of discerning customers. That includes many residents in Chicago’s dense urban market of about 2.7 million people, where over 400,000 VSP members live and work today.”

Eyeconic stores are considered in network for most VSP, Cigna and MetLife members. Eyeconic also accepts private pay and most other vision insurance plans as an out-of-network option.

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Allergan to Be Acquired in $63M Deal

It will be a ‘transformational transaction for both companies.’

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NORTH CHICAGO, IL, and DUBLIN — AbbVie Inc. plans to acquire Allergan plc, whose products include eyecare drugs, in a $63 million deal, the companies announced.

“This is a transformational transaction for both companies and achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives,” said Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and CEO of AbbVie. “The combination of AbbVie and Allergan increases our ability to continue to deliver on our mission to patients and shareholders.

“With our enhanced growth platform to fuel industry-leading growth, this strategy allows us to diversify AbbVie’s business while sustaining our focus on innovative science and the advancement of our industry-leading pipeline well into the future.”

Brent Saunders, chairman and CEO of Allergan, said, “With 2019 annual combined revenue of approximately $48 billion, scale in more than 175 countries, an industry-leading R&D pipeline and robust cash flows, our combined company will have the opportunity to make even bigger contributions to global health than either can alone. Our fast-growing therapeutic areas, including our world class medical aesthetics, eye care, CNS and gastrointestinal businesses, will enhance AbbVie’s strong growth platform and create substantial value for shareholders of both companies.”

Under terms of the deal, Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares and $120.30 in cash for each Allergan share that they hold, for a total consideration of $188.24 per Allergan share. The transaction represents a 45% premium to the closing price of Allergan’s shares on June 24.

The transaction is subject to conditions including certain regulatory approvals and approval by Allergan’s shareholders.

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Optical Company to Close Its Doors

It’s the “only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the USA.”

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Sauk Rapids, MN-based X-Cel Optical is closing its doors.

The Sauk Rapids facility will shut down permanently in June 2020, WJON-AM reports.

The operation, part of Essilor of America, primarily manufactures bifocals, trifocals and glass lenses. A company spokeswoman told WJON that decreased demand for those products is a factor in the closure.

The facility has 125 full-time employees, all of whom will be affected. But WJON reports that they will be able to move into jobs at other Essilor-owned facilities in the region if they wish.

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Todd Schultz, community development director for Sauk Rapids, told the news outlet that the company plans to move the operations to locations outside the U.S.

Founded in Detroit in 1937, X-Cel Optical is “the only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the USA,” according to its website.

Read more at WJON-AM

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