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Monday, May 23, 2022

TearLab Adds Mazzo to Board, Preps for Expansion

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TearLab Corp., an Escondido-based developer of eye disease diagnostics products, has appointed prominent Orange County executive Jim Mazzo to its board of directors.

It marks another eye care-related executive position for Mazzo, who has over 40 years of experience in the ophthalmic industry. He currently serves as executive chairman of retinal implant company Neurotech and as adviser of Avellino Labs, a biotechnology company.

He is also an adviser for Carl Zeiss Meditec, after previously serving as global president of ophthalmic devices for the firm, as well as Bain Consulting.

“We are incredibly pleased and honored to bring an industry veteran like Jim to our board of directors as we prepare the organization for the expansion phase that lies ahead,” TearLab Executive Chairman Lior Shav said in a statement.

Mazzo previously led Allergan’s North American and European eye care organizations for 22 years, served as CEO of Advanced Medical Optics and founded Octane, Orange County’s largest business accelerator.

Osmolarity System

TearLab, incorporated in 2003, develops laboratory tests to detect ophthalmic diseases through tears at the point-of-care.

TearLab’s Osmolarity System tests for dry eye disease, a condition that affects roughly 4.9 million Americans ages 50 and older. The industry is projected to grow from $4.4 billion in 2018 to $7.7 billion by the end of 2026, according to Fortune Business Insights.

As of July, the company reported administering 20 million Osmolarity tests.

“I could not be more excited to join TearLab’s board of directors,” Mazzo said. “At this time of growing global demand in eye care and diagnostics, the company’s opportunities are many and the future is indeed very bright. I look forward to assisting leadership in their strategic decision-making.”

Others with ties to OC and on the company’s board include Dr. Richard Lindstrom, a visiting professor at UC Irvine’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute.

New Ownership

In 2020, private equity firm Accelmed Partners II paid $25 million to acquire TearLab, which at the time was a public company trading on the over-the-counter market.

In 2019, TearLab reported sales fell 9.4% to $22.7 million; its loss more than doubled to $5.4 million. In its 2019 annual report, its auditor said there was “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue due to recurring losses, debt covenant violations and the need for additional funding.

The investment was used to pay down a portion of the company’s debt and fund both “organic and inorganic growth opportunities,” according to a statement at that time.

“Accelmed remains committed to the success of TearLab and this addition (of Mazzo) only further strengthens what we believe is a well-positioned company, ready to deliver further growth while addressing the unmet needs in ocular surface disease,” TearLab’s Shav said. 

Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp
Audrey Kemp is a staff reporter and occasional photojournalist for the Orange County Business Journal. Her beats include — but are not limited to — healthcare, startups, and education. While pursuing her bachelors in literary journalism at UC Irvine, she interned for New York-based magazine Narratively Inc., wrote for Costa Mesa-based lifestyle magazine Locale, and covered the underground music scene for two SoCal-based music publications. She is an unwavering defendant of the emdash and the Oxford comma.

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