Shanghai, China and Catania, Italy - March 31, 2021. AffaMed Therapeutics (“AffaMed”), a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to addressing critical unmet patient need in ophthalmic, neurological and psychiatric disorders, and SIFI S.p.A. (“SIFI”), a leading international ophthalmic company, today announced they have entered into an agreement to establish a Joint Venture to develop, manufacture and commercialize premium innovative intraocular lenses (“IOLs”) in the Greater China market, including Mainland China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong.
The Joint Venture will have exclusive rights to SIFI’s range of IOLs, including the premium innovative Mini Well®, Mini Well Toric ® and Mini Well Proxa®lines of Extended Depth of Focus (“EDOF”) IOL lenses. These surgical implants represent the most advanced solutions for cataract refractive surgery, allowing correction of myopia/hyperopia, presbyopia and astigmatism resulting in spectacle-free uninterrupted high-quality vision at all distances and in all lighting conditions.
Cataract is among the leading public health issues in China today, with the total prevalence estimated at over 100 million, but only approximately 4 million cataract surgeries are currently performed annually. As awareness and access to effective treatment options such as IOL’s increases, the number of cataract surgeries in China is expected to increase by 8-10% per year, representing one of the highest growth rates globally. With its range of innovative EDOF IOLs expected to be among the most advanced and effective treatment options available to cataract patients in China, the Joint Venture between AffaMed and SIFI will target the under-served premium market for patients seeking a high level of spectacle independence, while it will also provide the highest quality mono-focal IOL products to help expand access to treatments for the wider population of patients.
Dr. Dayao Zhao, CEO of AffaMed commented: “The creation of our Joint Venture with SIFI marks an important milestone in strengthening the ability of AffaMed to reach more patients with the highest quality IOLs. Our development and regulatory expertise will enable the partnership to accelerate clinical development and regulatory approval timelines, and advance our mission of bringing high-quality and accessible healthcare products to meet significant unmet patient needs in the Greater China market.”
Dr. Ji Li, President and Chief Strategy Officer of AffaMed commented: “Cataract is the leading cause of blindness globally, and intraocular lens implantation is the only definitive treatment. Whereas, the annual cataract surgical rate in China reached a record high of around 3,000 procedures per million people in 2020, that level still only represents approximately one-fifth of the surgical treatment rate observed in developed countries. We are thrilled to establish this strategic partnership with SIFI to bring their world-leading and high quality innovative intraocular lens technology to patients in Greater China.”
“We are excited to enter into a strategic partnership with AffaMed to access the Greater China market, a significant milestone in our international expansion program." said Fabrizio Chines, Chairman and CEO of SIFI. "With its successful track record in forging alliances on innovative technologies in key therapeutic areas, AffaMed represents the partner of choice to bring our innovative solutions for cataract surgery to Chinese patients.”
Andrea Quaglino, CFO of SIFI commented: “The creation of this Joint Venture will maximize the value of one of our key assets, leveraging on our team capabilities and global market potential of SIFI’s proprietary IOL technology. Delivering value to shareholders and to a larger population of patients remains at the heart of our company’s mission.”
Under the terms of the agreement, AffaMed will provide funding for growth, and support the Joint Venture in clinical development, regulatory affairs and commercial operations, while SIFI will contribute its IP, technical and manufacturing expertise.
YAFO Capital (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. acted as financial advisor and DLA Piper as legal and tax advisor on this transaction to SIFI.
About AffaMed Therapeutics
AffaMed Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products that address critical unmet medical needs in ophthalmic, neurological and psychological disorders for patients in Greater China and around the world. The leadership team of AffaMed Therapeutics has gained deep industry expertise and an extensive track record in high-quality clinical development, regulatory affairs, CMC, business development and commercial operations at leading multi-national pharmaceutical companies in China and globally. AffaMed Therapeutics was founded and funded by the CBC Group in 2019.
SIFI is a leading ophthalmic company, headquartered in Italy, focusing on eye care since 1935. SIFI develops, manufactures and markets innovative therapeutic solutions for patients with ophthalmic diseases. SIFI is committed to improve patients’ quality of life through its R&D efforts, exporting products to more than 20 countries worldwide with commercial operations in Italy, Spain, France, Romania, Mexico and Turkey. Since 2015 SIFI is backed by 21 Invest, a private equity firm founded by Alessandro Benetton.
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