CustomVis eyes $10m in investment funding

REFRACTIVE laser company CustomVis is expected to announce that it has raised $10 million in private funding to commercialise its products for correcting vision disorders.

In May the company raised $1 million in seed capital from a number of international investors and, according to company president and CFO Dr William Ardrey, those same investors and others have committed to further investments in CustomVis.

On Tuesday CustomVis announced the Federal Government had offered a grant of $250,000 for the company to produce a prototype refractive laser. This grant was the maximum amount any one company could receive under the Government’s Biotechnology Innovation Fund Grant.

“What you don’t want to do in biotech is to stay in a research lab for a long time,” Dr Ardrey said.

“There’s a tendency, because the regulatory hurdles are so high, to stay in the research lab and tinker with the product; this particular company has another strategy – to commercialise an export product.”

He said the Government’s biotech grant would be very helpful in reassuring the company’s US investors that WA was the right place to be for investing in biotechnology.

Dr Ardrey said CustomVis had commitments from interests in South Korea and the US to buy additional stakes in the company.

He said CustomVis wanted to properly develop its technology before it sought any public funding. The company was considering three courses of action in this respect – it could remain an essentially private company, prepare for an Initial Public Offering, or pursue either mergers and acquisitions.

Dr Ardrey said he doubted the company would seek an Australian-only IPO in the near future, and a dual listing in Australia and/or in Singapore, London or on the USA’s Nasdaq index was possible.

The company was constrained by the reality of the technology sector, whose investors have become less interested in pure product sales and more interested in the quality of sales.

In the meantime, Dr Ardrey said the company had been independently valued at about $32.5 million, based on its passing of some ambitious milestones in the commercialisation of its technology and comparisons with similar companies.

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