Alcon has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Optonol. With the acquisition, Alcon will acquire Optonol’s Ex-Press mini glaucoma shunt. The agreement will complement Alcon’s pharmaceutical products that lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with glaucoma and ocular hypertension, and will add to the company’s growth opportunities.

The company said that the American Medical Association (AMA) has assigned the Ex-Press mini glaucoma shunt to CPT 0192T effective July 1, 2008 and it is currently reimbursed by Medicare and other payors. The device is also approved and currently marketed in Europe, Canada, Australia and several other countries.

Robert Warner, vice president of US pharmaceutical products at Alcon, said: “This transaction demonstrates Alcon’s strong commitment to providing physicians with comprehensive treatment options for patients with glaucoma, the world’s second leading cause of blindness. This surgical procedure provides incremental surgeon and patient benefits over trabeculectomy, which is currently considered the standard of care in glaucoma surgical therapy.”

Kevin Buehler, president and chief executive officer of Alcon, said: “The acquisition of Optonol is part of our strategy to bolster organic growth with targeted investments in key therapeutic areas that have the potential to contribute in both the near and long term. Because the product is already approved in the United States and other major markets it will begin contributing commercially in 2010.”

The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of 2010.