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August 18, 2003

Phonak, Cochlear : To Develop Hearing Systems>Z.PHK

From: Yahoo News - Aug 18, 2003

Edited Press Release

ZURICH (Dow Jones)--The Phonak Group (Z.PHK) and Cochlear Ltd. (A.COC), the Australian Cochlear Ltd (A.COC) implant company, said Tuesday they have entered into a joint venture to develop innovative products in the field of implantabale acoustical hearing systems.

These new products will specificially address a current unmet medical need, where current external hearing aids, cochlear implants and middle ear implants (MEIs) cannot provide effective benefits to patients.

The task of the joint venture is to develop a complete product line of implantable acoustical hearing systems, incorporating key elemts of each of the parent companues' core technologies. For Phonak, this means new applications for its existing strong expertise in digital sound processing technologies and sophisticated hearing rehabilitation algorithms and components.

Over the past few years, Phonak has developed several key components to crease an implantable hearing system, and these components, and related technology, have been transferred to the new venture.

"Phonak's know-how and market leadership in the field of audiology joined with Cochlear's expertise and core-business of implantable hearing devices will offer promising opportunities," said Valentin Chapero Rueda, CEO of Phonak Group.

"The highly innovative products developed by the join venture will help Phonak to penetrate new market segments and to strengthen its leading position as the comprehensive hearing system provider."

The joint venture solidifies the relationship between Phonak and Cochlear which began in March 2001, when the two companies collaborated on the distribution of Phonak's miniaturized FM radio communication equipment to wearers of cochlear implants, further enhancing their hearing ability. Ths cooperation confirms Phonak's FM technology as the indsutry standard and further raised its awareness in the ENT doctors' community.

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