A Medical Device Daily

Bausch & Lomb (B&L; Rochester, New York) reported that it has made an investment in — and secured an exclusive option to purchase — AcuFocus (Irvine, California), a private company developing corneal inlay technology for the treatment of presbyopia. Terms of the investment and purchase agreement were not disclosed.

The disclosure was made at the Hawaiian Eye 2007 Meeting held on Kauai, Hawaii, attended by several hundred ophthalmic surgeons.

The AcuFocus ACI 7000 is designed to treat presbyopia, a condition which affects more than 50 million people in the U.S. and is part of normal aging. Presbyopia reduces the ability of the eye to focus on near objects. Traditionally, most people with presbyopia have had to use reading glasses to improve their near vision. The AcuFocus corneal inlay is designed to treat presbyopia in all patients, including those who have had cataract surgery, and reduce their dependence on reading glasses.

The AcuFocus ACI 7000 corneal inlay is implanted in the cornea under a LASIK flap in an outpatient procedure. The device incorporates technology designed to increase the patient’s depth of field, thereby improving near vision. It has been designed to maintain normal corneal physiology and corneal health. The procedure does not involve tissue removal nor does it permanently alter the cornea, so pre-implant vision can be restored if the inlay is removed.

“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 VP and head of global surgical strategy for B&L.

“We believe Bausch & Lomb’s deep experience in the eyecare field will enhance our technology significantly,” said Ed Peterson, president/CEO of AcuFocus. “With Bausch & Lomb’s investment, we can accelerate and broaden our efforts to bring this exciting technology to refractive surgeons and their patients.”

In other financing activity:

Two venture investing firms located in St. Louis reported formation of an alliance to increase the private capital flowing into companies involved in life sciences and financial services information technologies.

Advantage Capital Partners and Augury Capital Management said they will identify opportunities to jointly invest private funds raised from a variety of sources. Advantage said it will dedicate up to $10 million of its capital for an “Augury Side-by” allocation to invest directly into companies that Augury invests in, provided that the investments meet Advantage’s investment committee and NMTC criteria, policies and guidelines.

“Our relationship with Advantage has allowed us to enter into more meaningful discussions with potential portfolio companies, especially promising, late-stage companies which require significant capital and creative debt financing,” said Robert Wetzel, Augury general partner. “As a result, we have been able to propose transactions to companies which can leverage their balance sheet with advantageous mezzanine financing.”

• Tyco International (Pembroke, Bermuda) reported that holders of zero coupon convertible debentures, due Feb. 12, 2021, issued by its subsidiary Tyco International Group have the right to surrender their debentures for repurchase. Each holder of the debentures has the right to require Tyco to repurchase promptly following the purchase date of Feb. 12, 2007, all or any part of such holder’s debentures for cash at a price equal to the issue price, plus the accreted original issue discount.

If all outstanding debentures are surrendered for purchase, the aggregate purchase price will be about $72,000. The debentures are convertible under certain circumstances into 8.6916 Tyco common shares per $1,000 principal amount at maturity of debentures, subject to adjustment under certain circumstances. The debentures are not currently convertible.

Medical Properties Trust (MPT; Birmingham, Alabama), reported that Vibra Healthcare (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania) has repaid about $7.7 million of a $37.7 million operating loan from MPT.

MPT said it will use the funds to reduce balances under its revolving credit agreement.

In return for the early repayment of the Vibra loan, MPT has agreed, effective immediately, to reduce the percentage rent to 1% of Vibra’s revenue on the original five properties from 2%. On an annual basis, this equates to a reduction of about $1 million of percentage rent from Vibra. The 1% percentage rent can be further decreased subject to further repayment of the loan and new revenue from Vibra to replace the percentage rent.

Additionally, the companies have agreed that the fixed term of all Vibra leases will be extended for five years; the annual escalator used for increasing base rent under the original leases and the Redding lease is increased by 15 basis points; and MPT has the right of first refusal on all Vibra transactions for the next five years, or up to transactions with a value of $182 million at a pre-determined spread over 10-year treasuries.

MPT is a self-advised real estate investment trust that acquires and develops net-leased healthcare facilities.

Vibra is a specialty hospital provider focused on the development of freestanding long-term acute care and medical rehabilitation hospitals.