FDA panel backs Staar Surgical's implantable lens

March 17 Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:21am EDT

March 17 (Reuters) - Staar Surgical Co said an independent advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended marketing approval for its implantable vision-correction lens, sending the company's shares up 22 percent in premarket trade on Monday.

The company's Visian Toric implantable lens is placed in the posterior chamber of the eye between the iris and the natural crystalline lens to correct both myopia and astigmatism in a single procedure.

Astigmatism, or blurry vision, is caused when the cornea is oblong instead of being round. Myopia, or near-sightedness, is caused when the cornea is too curved.

Analysts at Canaccord Genuity said they expect regulatory approval for the lens in the second half of 2014, adding that "the positive FDA panel is the first of several important milestones on the horizon for Staar."

They raised their rating on the stock to "buy" from "hold" and the price target to $20 from $14.

"We have always viewed the Food and Drug Administration panel as more of a wild card than the FDA, and we ultimately expect the FDA to approve the device," Benchmark analyst Jan Wald said, raising his price target on Staar's stock to $21 from $15.

Staar's shares were up 20 percent at $18.55 before the bell. They closed at $15.37 on the Nasdaq on Friday. (Reporting by Shailesh Kuber; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)