JOHNSON & JOHNSON COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF ABBOTT MEDICAL OPTICS
Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has completed the acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbott. The all-cash $4.325 billion acquisition was originally announced Sept. 16, 2016 and includes ophthalmic products in three areas of patient care: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery, and consumer eye health. These product lines will now join with the Acuvue Brand Contact Lenses business, and the combined organization will operate under the brand name Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J Vision).
According to Ashley McEvoy, company group chair, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Medical Devices, J&J believed that AMO would be a good fit for several reasons, including AMO’s foothold in the ophthalmic surgery sector and the company’s contact lens care portfolio—areas in which J&J did not already have a presence.
She also noted that the acquisition presented an ideal culture fit as well because both companies put science and technology in the forefront.
The rebranded organization will be structured into two divisions, which will be overseen by Ms. McEvoy and her leadership team. Both divisions will be reported in the medical devices section of J&J.
The Contact Lens Platform will include J&J’s Acuvue family of contact lenses as well as AMO’s Blink RevitaLens Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution, Complete Multi-Purpose Solution Easy Rub Formula, Oxysept Disinfecting Solution/Neutralizer-Ultracare Formula, Ultrazyme Enzymatic Cleaner, Blink Contacts Lubricating Eye Drops, and Blink-N-Clean Lens Drops. The Contact Lens Platform will be led by Worldwide President Swami Raote, who previously served as vice president, Ethicon, Asia Pacific and area vice president, North Asia, Medical Devices for J&J.
The Surgical Platform will consist of the following products from AMO: Catalys System laser cataract system, Whitestar Signature Pro Phacoemulsification System, Compact Intuitiv System, StabilEyes Capsular Tension Ring, the Tecnis family of intraocular lenses, iFS Advanced Femtosecond Laser, iDesign Advanced WaveScan Studio System, Star S4 IR Excimer Laser, and the Healon family of viscoelastics. Tom Frinzi, who previously served as senior vice president of Abbott’s vision business, will lead the surgical division, also under the Worldwide President title.
ALCON LAUNCHES NEW DIGITAL VISION CARE MARKETING PORTAL
Alcon launched a comprehensive marketing portal with digital resources and content to help eyecare professionals (ECPs) strengthen their online outreach to patients. Located at alconODmarketing.com , the Alcon Vision Care Marketing Portal offers e-marketing tools and training as well as patient educational videos and other content. In terms of branded content, the portal launched with a variety of Dailies materials—such as social media posts, photography, and logos—that will be updated on a monthly basis.
The portal will also feature training materials for ECPs and their staff to help them navigate the portal and learn how to leverage downloaded assets on their websites and social media channels. Resources available in the portal include social media content; video content for patients about proper lens care, new products, and more; brand logos and product photography; and lifestyle photography that can be downloaded and used on ECPs’ social media channels or websites.
In other news, Alcon launched Air Optix Choice, a new program that offers savings on most Air Optix contact lenses, including Alcon’s new Air Optix plus HydraGlyde contact lenses. Alcon is also extending its existing Dailies Choice Program.
The Dailies Choice Program includes up to $200 in savings on a patient’s first annual supply of either Dailies Total1 or Dailies AquaComfort Plus contact lenses. The Air Optix Choice Program includes up to $100 in savings on an annual supply for patients new to the Air Optix family of contact lenses or existing patients switching lenses within the Air Optix family. Visit airoptixchoice.com and dailieschoice.com .
EYECARE PRIME INTRODUCES LENSFERRY S GIVES SIGHT
In support of its ongoing commitment to helping provide basic eye care to underserved populations around the world, EyeCare Prime, a subsidiary of CooperVision, Inc., has partnered with Optometry Giving Sight to introduce its own philanthropic initiative, LensFerry S Gives Sight.
For each LensFerry S subscription, EyeCare Prime makes a donation to fund projects that provide access to vision care for people in need. To date, 5 million people around the world have benefitted thanks to projects funded by Optometry Giving Sight. And, in what will now become an annual commitment, the LensFerry S team spent five days in Oaxaca, Mexico, helping to provide eye exams and glasses to more than 1,500 students between the ages of 5 and 14 as part of the Our Children’s Vision campaign.
SHIRE APPOINTS BOYD AS DIRECTOR, MARKET DEVELOPMENT
Shire recently announced that Joe Boyd has joined the Ophthalmics team as director, Market Development. In this role, Mr. Boyd will lead the Market Development team, which will work closely with thought leaders, key opinion leaders, and teaching institutions to further Shire’s commitment to eye health. Additionally, he will play an integral part in marketing and engagement strategies.
Mr. Boyd has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. He most recently worked at Primus Pharmaceuticals as director, Commercial Planning & Operations. He has also held roles at Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Astellas US LLC, and Nicox.
VTI USES IPO TO RAISE FUNDS FOR U.S. EXPANSION
Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI) has raised $33.3 million (Australian dollars, A$) following the close of its fully underwritten initial public offering (IPO), which the company says was supported by institutional and sophisticated investors in Australia and Asia. The IPO proceeds will provide capital as VTI broadens and accelerates the U.S. launch of its NaturalVue Multifocal daily disposable lenses for adults who have presbyopia and for children who have myopia (currently off-label). VTI will also launch additional contact lens products.
The funds raised are intended to further build out the U.S. sales force and to build inventory that will support the expanded sales effort. VTI offered for issue approximately A$79.4 million CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs), each representing an interest in one share of VTI’s Class A common stock. The CDIs will be quoted on the Australian Securities Exchange after the IPO.
HUBBLE CONTACTS RAISES $16.5 MILLION IN SERIES A FINANCING
Hubble, a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, announced the close of a $16.5 million Series A investment round. FirstMark Capital led this financing round, with participation from existing investors including Greycroft Partners, Wildcat Capital Management (the family office of TPG Capital Founder, David Bonderman), and Two River. The Series A round brings Hubble’s total financing to $23.7 million, allowing the company to invest more in marketing and advertising initiatives and to purchase additional inventory.
Hubble recently extended its lens powers to a range of –0.50D through –12.00D. Its Series A raise will allow the company to purchase a substantial inventory of toric lenses for patients who have astigmatism and to roll out new product extensions, including eye drops, according to Hubble.
The company launched in late 2016 through a partnership with St. Shine, which manufacturers Hubble’s FDA-cleared daily disposable lenses in Taipei, Taiwan.
After the prescription has been verified, new customers get their first shipment of 30 Hubble lenses for free with a $3 shipping and handling fee. Subscribers can choose between monthly and annual subscriptions at $30 per month or $264 per year, respectively. For subsequent shipments, the lenses are shipped for free to anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and to military APO/DPO/FPO addresses.
ABB OPTICAL GROUP RELEASES YEAR IN REVIEW INDUSTRY INSIGHTS
Reviewing 2016 sales and projecting 2017 growth, ABB Optical Group released data on same-store sales that show that daily disposable contact lens growth was up nearly 23% and represented 76% of all growth in the category in 2016. Reusable contact lenses were soft in 2016 with a slight decline of 0.4%, but have come to life with recent monthly lens introductions of sphericals, torics, and multifocals. The company also reported that growth of torics was up 11%, driven predominantly by daily disposable torics, which were up more than 36%. In addition, multifocals continue to post gains with growth of nearly 17%. The growth was dominated by daily disposable multifocals at more than 69% due to recent introductions from all four major manufacturers in this area. Looking at 2017, ABB Optical Group predicts that toric and multifocal lenses will continue to drive growth in the daily disposable category.
IACLE TO HOLD 2017 CONGRESS ON CONTACT LENS EDUCATION
“Translating Knowledge into Increasing Contact Lens Penetration” will be the theme for the 2017 International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) Congress on Contact Lens Education, taking place in Hyderabad, India from Sept. 9 to 10, 2017. The Congress is timed to precede the World Council of Optometry’s 2nd World Congress of Optometry, also In Hyderabad (being held on Sept. 11 to 13), where IACLE will also be providing the contact lens content. Supporters of the event include Alcon, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision.
The IACLE Congress is being held at L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI). Visit www.iacle.org to register or for more information.
AOCLE OFFERS HEALTHY CL HABITS GUIDE
The Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) has developed a series of “Healthy Habits” guides for soft, GP, and, the latest in this series, scleral lenses. AOCLE wanted to establish a standardized set of basic instructions, based on published literature, that educators, practitioners, residents, and students can use to educate novice contact lens users on how to properly take care of their lenses as well as patients who are non-compliant with instructions.
With the growth in scleral lens fitting, a guide specific for that modality was needed to address specific issues related to scleral lenses. Etty Bitton, OD, MSc, an associate professor at the Université de Montréal, along with optometry student Michelle Zakem, spearheaded the “Healthy Scleral Lens Habits” guide. The guides are completely generic and are available in English, French, and Spanish. All are downloadable at aocle.org .
TEARLAB ANNOUNCES CE MARKING FOR NEXT-GENERATION SYSTEM
TearLab Corporation announced that its next-generation in-vitro diagnostics testing platform is in conformity with all the applicable provisions of In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices Directive 98/79 EC, enabling CE Marking of the device. CE Marking provides clearance in the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member countries.
This CE Marking provides regulatory clearance for both the device and the initial next-generation test card, capable of measuring both osmolarity and an inflammation biomarker, which together will help identify patients expected to respond to dry eye disease (DED) therapies, according to TearLab.
TearLab says that the platform will allow iteration of various disposable tests aimed at diagnosing both eye-related and other systemic diseases without the need to replace and develop hardware for each new test.
The company also announced that it will seek CE Marking for a second protein biomarker that will, when combined with osmolarity and the first inflammation biomarker, comprise the initial commercial multiplex test card on the new platform. TearLab then plans to build a robust clinical data package and secure valuable feedback from global key opinion leaders in support of a 510(k) submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is expected in the third quarter of 2017.
- The American Optometric Association (AOA) announced that Richard L. Wallingford Jr., OD, passed away after battling cancer for more than a decade. Dr. Wallingford was the 84th president of the AOA, serving from 2005 to 2006. He was active in the Maine Optometric Association, was on the New England College of Optometry board, and was former treasurer of the World Council of Optometry. He also had a private practice in Bangor, ME. He is known for his national advocacy efforts regarding patient access to optometric care. He is survived by his wife, Elaine, and their children and grandchildren.
- Coopervision, Inc. announced the availability of a 90-pack configuration for Clariti 1 Day Toric contact lenses, which provide astigmatic patients with the advantages of silicone hydrogel and the convenience of the one-day modality, according to the company. All Clariti 1 Day options feature high water content. Additionally, the company says that the WetLoc technology ensures that the entire lens surface is continuously moist and mimics the moisture dispersion of naturally healthy eyes.
- Art Optical has entered into a vendor partnership with Acuity Polymers. Acuity 18 (enflufocon A) and Acuity 100 (hexafocon A) lens materials are now available across the range of specialty GP lens designs offered by Art Optical. Acuity 18 is a fluorosilicone-acrylate material with a low Dk (21) that delivers excellent stability, wettability, and optics and is good choice for thin lens designs, according to the company. The high-Dk (111) Acuity 100 material offers fitters and patients the oxygen delivery required with today’s advanced corneal and scleral lens designs. Both Acuity 18 and Acuity 100 are FDA cleared and are available in a number of handling tints.
- Bausch + Lomb and Nicox S.A. have announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a PDUFA date of Aug. 24, 2017 for its decision on the New Drug Application (NDA) for latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution, 0.024%. Latanoprostene bunod is an intraocular pressure (IOP)-lowering single-agent eye drop dosed once daily for patients who have open angle glaucoma (OAG) or ocular hypertension (OHT). If approved, B+L states that latanoprostene bunod would be the first nitric-oxide donating prostaglandin F2α analog for ophthalmic use. Latanoprostene bunod was licensed by Nicox to Bausch + Lomb.
- Novaliq GMBH announced a strategic licensing agreement with AFT Pharmaceuticals for the commercialization of Novaliq’s NovaTears in Australia and New Zealand. NovaTears is Novaliq’s ophthalmic product for the treatment of evaporative dry eye diseases (DEDs). In Europe, NovaTears is distributed by URSAPHARM under the brand name EvoTears. Under the terms of the agreement, AFT was granted an exclusive license for the commercialization of NovaTears across Australasia. In return for these rights, Novaliq will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and royalties on net sales of NovaTears.
- April 2017 marks the 19th annual Sjögren’s Awareness Month. Once again, The Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation (SSF), along with members and volunteers across the country, will unite to continue its mission of educating patients and families about Sjögren’s. SSF will be using one or more of its social media channels (Twitter, @SjogrensOrg ; Facebook, @SjogrensSyndromeFoundation ; and LinkedIn, Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation) to educate consumers, healthcare professionals, and others by providing facts about the disease, offering resources, and sharing stories of those who have Sjögren’s to help others visualize and better understand what it is like to suffer from Sjögren’s. SSF will be employing the #ThisisSjogrens hashtag.
- The Registration and Event Website for the Cornea & Contact Lens Society of Australia’s International Cornea & Contact Lens Congress 2017, which will take place from Sept. 8 to 10 in Sydney, is now open. Visit icclc-2017.cclsa.org.au for more information or to register.
- The World Council of Optometry (WCO) was originally founded in Cologne, Germany in 1927 as the International Optical League—Ligue Internationale d’optique. In 1970, the name was changed to the International Optometric and Optical League (IOOL) and was based in the United Kingdom. In 1996, the IOOL became the WCO and is now headquartered at the American Optometric Association offices in St. Louis. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the WCO. Today, the WCO’s mission is to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and to support optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education, policy development, and humanitarian outreach. It remains an international organization dedicated to the enhancement and development of eye and vision care worldwide.