Sofinnova Invests 2M Euros in Varioptic

Sept. 19, 2003
Paris, September 19, 2003. Varioptic has developed an electrically controlled, variable miniature focal lens for use in digital cameras. Sofinnova Partners, an international venture capital company, has closed a first financing of Varioptic for 2M Euros. Varioptic, created in March 2002 in Lyon, designs and commercializes new optical lenses that are based on a liquid-liquid interface technology, which allow various functions such as focus and zoom

Paris, September 19, 2003. Varioptic has developed an electrically controlled, variable miniature focal lens for use in digital cameras. Sofinnova Partners, an international venture capital company, has closed a first financing of Varioptic for 2M Euros. Varioptic, created in March 2002 in Lyon, designs and commercializes new optical lenses that are based on a liquid-liquid interface technology, which allow various functions such as focus and zoom.

Varioptic was founded by Bruno Berge, a professor at l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon. He invented the Varioptic technology, and started the company, which was spun off from the ENS laboratory with the support of the laboratory. Varioptic products are the result of more than 15 years of research conducted in the laboratories of the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble and l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon.

Varioptic develops miniature optical lens made of plastic which were first used to manufacture the smallest available digital camera in the world, used largely in mobile telephony (mobile phones, webcam, PDA). This innovative product opens up new possibilities for use in video camera equipment, and medicine (endoscopy).

" Varioptic's project attracted our attention", said Alain Rodermann, Partner at Sofinnova Partners. " This innovation has great potential. In the short term, the first market targeted will be mobile telephones. We are seeing a considerable increase in the number of mobile phones equipped with cameras on the Asian markets, a trend which should soon spread to the rest of the world. Moreover, this technology will have many other applications."

" The main advantage of the Varioptic solution is to eliminate mobile parts and to be easily miniaturized," said Bruno Berge, Président of Varioptic. " Our autofocus system is easier than motorised systems, faster, more compact and robust, and consumes less energy. Compared to motorized solutions, the cost is reduced. Our technology has attracted a large Asian manufacturer of electronic parts, with whom we have just signed a large contract for developing prototypes and producing a pre-series. "

Thanks to Sofinnova Partners' financial support, Varioptic will be able to accelerate its research and development program in order to maintain its technological advance on process and products.

Varioptic plans to commercialize its product on a large scale starting in 2004. The company is targeting large customers in Asia as well as international electronics manufacturers, which should give Varioptic an international dimension.

Varioptic is a French company specializing in the development and commercialization of optical technologies. The company holds several international patents for electrically controlled miniature optical lens.
Created in March 2002 in Lyon by Bruno Berge, Professor at the l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon, Varioptic has a staff of eight. The team includes specialists in science and high-tech industry. Varioptic is about to enter the market of digital imagery with its self-focus and zoom lens.

For additional information, visit: www.varioptic.com .

Laser Focus World

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