30/06/2006 - 13:55

Advanced Ocular closes US HQ

30/06/2006 - 13:55


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Listed technology company Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd (formerly Regenera Ltd) will close its Boston headquarters and has announced the resignation of its US based chief executive Kenneth Taylor following a review of costs.

Advanced Ocular closes US HQ

Listed technology company Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd (formerly Regenera Ltd) has announced a major restructuring and cost-cutting that included the closure of its corporate headquarters near Boston and the resignation of its US based chief executive Kenneth Taylor, following a review of costs.

The company will consolidate core corporate activity at its Nedlands office under executive chairman Tony Fitzgerald.

The changes come less than a year after the merger of Regenera and AOS, which was designed to create an international business specialising in opthalmic devices.

The loss making company has also raised $2.75 million from the issue of convertible notes.


The full statement is pasted below

The Board of directors of ophthalmic specialty company Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd (ASX: AOS) announced today the decision to close its corporate headquarters located outside of Boston, Massachusetts as of 30 June 2006. The closure follows a review of the cost effectiveness of maintaining a separate corporate office in the U.S and is part of a restructuring initiative to consolidate all corporate activity to the existing Perth office, which continues to be the registered office of the company.

Concurrent with the office closure, the Board has received the resignation of Dr. Kenneth P. Taylor as its President and CEO effective 30 June 2006. The Board of AOS intends to make a further announcement regarding an Australian based replacement for Dr. Taylor as soon as practicable. Similarly, the Board has foreshadowed a company wide restructuring that will reduce operating expenditure and more appropriately reflect the company's core areas of concentration over the short to medium term. In simple terms, AOS intends to take the shortest operational path to profitability and free cash flow, without jeopardising the future licensing and product development prospects of the company's significant intellectual property portfolio and product pipeline.

Dr. Taylor joined AOS, Inc, the refractive device company, in June of 2005. During his tenure he established its U.S. office, directed the acquisition of various refractive technologies, and advanced the development of the company's key technologies, including the PAI-LASIK and CLK corneal inlays, from proof-of-concept to human studies. He was also integral to the merger of AOS, Inc with Regenera Ltd. this past December. Dr. Taylor plans to return to managing the Taylor Consulting Group, LLC in Marblehead, MA which specialises in technology and market evaluations, M&A and partnering opportunities, valuations and strategic planning assignments. Dr. Taylor brought significant ophthalmic industry knowledge to AOS, especially insight relative to future market trends. The Board wishes to record its thanks on behalf of shareholders for the work performed by Dr. Taylor over the past 12 months.

While AOS will no longer have a direct office in the U.S., the company remains committed to continuing its activities in the largest ophthalmic market in the world. AOS has strong partnerships forged with a number of large North American ophthalmic companies including Alcon and QLT Inc., and with many key opinion leaders in the ophthalmic industry. The Board of AOS believes these relationships and our projects are at stages of progress that can be advanced most economically from the existing operation in Australia. As noted above, AOS will advise shareholders of the revised management and operating structure as soon as practicable.

The Board is pleased to announce the closure of an AUD$2.75 million issue of convertible notes to professional investors at 30 June 2006, with funds due by 7 July. The convertible note issue, coupled with anticipated licensing and royalty income and the forecast reduction in operating expenditures as noted above, provides a solid financial basis for the company to move forward in the second half of its 2006 financial year.

The convertible note issue was priced at $0.94 per note. Each note may be converted, at the election of the holder, into ten (10) ordinary fully paid shares at any time prior to final redemption on 30 June 2008. The effective issue price per ordinary share is $0.094 and represents a 19% premium to the 30 day Volume Weighted Average Price of AOS shares traded up to 16 June 2006. The convertible notes pay interest at the rate of 10% per annum. If the notes are not converted by the holders prior to redemption, AOS expects to redeem the notes in June 2008 out of operating cash flow. An Appendix 3B has been lodged today with the ASX to reflect the issue of these securities. Application to the ASX for quotation of these securities will not be sought.

With additional funding available to the company and completion of the licensing agreement with QLT Inc, as announced on 29 June, the Board believes AOS is now positioned to move forward confidently. The company is continuing with further partnering initiatives and the Board looks forward to providing further updates on these initiatives during the next quarter.
About Advanced Ocular Systems (ASX: AOS)
Advanced Ocular Systems Ltd is an ophthalmic specialty company focusing on the development and commercialisation of innovative ophthalmic pharmaceuticals and refractive devices. AOS has a substantial technology portfolio supporting the development of pharmaceutical treatments for a range of ocular diseases and refractive devices that treat vision disorders. The technology portfolio includes drugs and delivery devices for the treatment of age related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, and other ocular disorders. Our portfolio also consists of refractive devices - corneal inlays and intra-ocular lenses - for vision correction. For more information, visit the website at www.advancedocular.com


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