Leadership Changes at CLS
Later this month, Joe Barr, OD, MS, FAAO, will retire from his position as editor of Contact Lens Spectrum and Contact Lenses Today. After 20 years with CLS, he will join Bausch & Lomb as vice president, global research and development for the company's vision care business. In this role he will be responsible for new product development of contact lenses and lens care solutions technologies as well as overseeing the day-to-day activities of Global R&D in the Vision Care Division. Dr. Barr has also served as the associate dean for clinical services and professional programs at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Optometry. He is a member of the college's executive committee, director of the National Eye Institute-sponsored CLEK photography-reading center and a past chair of the American Academy of Optometry's section on Cornea and Contact Lenses.
Tom Quinn, OD, MS, FAAO, has also announced that he will step down from his role as clinical features editor for CLS, a position he held for more than two years, so he can dedicate more time to his private practice in Athens, Ohio. Dr. Quinn was the first to hold this position for the publication.
Carla Mack, OD, FAAO, has been selected as the new editor of CLS and CLToday. Dr. Mack is currently an associate professor of clinical optometry at the OSU College of Optometry and has served as the first clinical columns editor for CLS for more than two years. She has worked and practiced in many settings, including ophthalmology and optometry practices, nursing homes and as the Chief of the OSU student health center clinic. Dr. Mack has also served on several committees, including the ASCO Clinical Affairs Committee, the ASCO Clinic Directors/Administrators Group (chair-elect) and the college's clinic committee (chair). She is currently director of campus optometry services at OSU and a diplomate for the Section on Cornea and Contact Lenses of the American Academy of Optometry.
Dr. Mack has named Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, to the role of clinical features editor and Jeff Schafer, OD, MS, FAAO, to the position of clinical columns editor for CLS. Dr. Bennett is an associate professor of optometry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and is executive director of the GP Lens Institute. He is a long-time contributor to CLS's GP Insights department and has been instrumental in helping to coordinate the journal's annual GP issue each October. Dr. Schafer is a clinical assistant professor and chief of the contact lens and ocular prosthetics services at The OSU College of Optometry. He has also contributed to The Contact Lens Exam and the Contact Lens Materials departments over the last several years.
|For the Record|
|In the June issue on p. 48, The Business of Contact Lenses column "Coding Rationale for Corneal Distortion," by Carla Mack, OD, FAAO, refers to a code for corneal edema due to contact lens wear as 371.42. This code is actually for a corneal erosion. The correct code for corneal edema due to contact lens wear is 371.24.|
AMO Recalls Solution, Shows Interest in B&L
After a voluntary recall of its Complete MoisturePlus lens solution, Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. says it believes the company will bounce back quickly and that the recall could have long-reaching effects on the entire lens solution industry.
In May, AMO pulled the lens solution line from shelves after reviewing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data showed of the 39 AK sufferers since January 2005 who wore soft lenses, 21 reported using Complete MoisturePlus products. The CDC estimates a risk of at least seven times greater for those who used Complete MoisturePlus solution versus those who did not.
A University of Illinois at Chicago study found that among soft contact lens wearers, cases with AK were significantly more likely to report having exclusively used AMO Complete MoisturePlus than the control group (55.2 percent vs. 10.5 percent).
"The results correlated with previously published laboratory studies that showed that Acanthamoeba is largely resistant to contact lens solutions in general and to Complete MoisturePlus in particular," said Dr. Elmer Tu, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology, who was involved with the study (see sidebar below).
In a statement, James Mazzo, Chief Executive of AMO, stressed that the recall was not due to a manufacturing or contamination issue but was an environmental issue that will "impact the entire industry."
Looking ahead, Mazzo told investors at the Goldman Sachs 28th Annual Global Healthcare Conference that he believed the company would bounce back more quickly than Bausch & Lomb from its recall of last year for a few reasons, including its immediate response to the CDC data and its outreach to practitioners. He said that while B&L has a strong consumer focus, AMO has always been more geared toward practitioners.
Mazzo says the company hopes to reintroduce Complete sometime this year. "What we do know is the product that we'll be reintroducing is from the three formulas that we have at our disposal. The CDC did go back three years, to start to look at patients and none of these formulas … were implicated in any way," he said. "So we could take any one of these three formulas and reintroduce that…sometime this year.
"We will be launching one of the Complete formulas across the globe and we will have our next formula which we had currently in design," Mazzo said. "I think we're going to candidly have to wait and see what the new standards the FDA is going to look at and then our new formulation hopefully will be able to meet those new standards."
In the meantime, Mazzo said it will promote its hydrogen peroxide solution, and advocate the "rub and rinse" step of lens cleaning.
Bid for B&L
While dealing with the recall, AMO was also in the "go-shop" process to acquire B&L. In a statement, AMO said, "We believe it is only logical to explore this opportunity given the highly complementary nature of our two businesses."
The company said that the agreement B&L had with Warburg Pincus at $65-a-share undervalued the company.
Meanwhile, one of AMO's investors, ValueAct Capital Partners LP, increased its holdings in the company from 7.343 percent to 9.9 percent.
BCLA Conference Largest Ever
More than 1,000 delegates from nearly 40 different countries attended the British Contact Lens Association's 2007 Clinical Conference and Exhibition, making it the largest in the Association's history. Attendance exceeded last year's previous record by 13 percent. This year's conference took place at the Manchester Central convention complex from May 31 to June 3.
The principal keynote speaker for this year's conference was Dr. Earl Smith III, who discussed the etiology of myopia. Other keynote speakers included Professor Roger Buckley, who discussed therapeutic prescribing; Dr. Donald Korb, who presented on contact lenses and the tear film; and Dr. Graeme Young, who discussed lessons learned from contact lens failures.
The Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture was given by Dr. Christine Purslow, who presented information about thermal imaging of the anterior eye. Professor H. Dwight Cavanagh presented the BCLA Medal Address this year, titled, "A 40-year Journey in Search of the Perfect Contact Lens."
Other highlights included presentations and discussions about new contact lens and instrument technology, contact lenses and myopia progression, microbial keratitis, dry eye, staining and what's on the horizon in contact lenses.
More than half of the delegates (52 percent) came from the United Kingdom. Of those visiting from 38 countries overseas the biggest delegation came from the United States (84 delegates) followed by Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
|■ Vistakon Launches Electronic Contact Lens Reminder Service|
Vistakon recently launched Acuminder, a complimentary online service designed to improve contact lens compliance. Contact lens wearers who register for the free service can elect to receive an automatic reminder to replace their lenses via e-mail, cell phone text message and/or computer desktop prompt. Registration is open to all lens wearers at www.acuminder.com.
■ Menicon Launches Site for New Silicone Hydrogel
Menicon Co., Ltd. has launched www.meniconpremio.com, a Web site for the company's new Menicon PremiO silicone hydrogel contact lens. The site provides technical details of the lens, wearing recommendations, study results and also explains the technology behind the lens.
1-800 Contacts Acquired, Sells ClearLab
1-800 CONTACTS, INC. has entered into a definitive merger agreement with affiliates of Fenway Partners, LLC.
1-800 Contacts CEO Jonathan Coon said the agreement will allow the company to pursue its goals with the flexibility and long-term focus of a private company.
Fenway Partners will acquire 1-800 Contacts for $24.25 per share, representing a premium of approximately 21 percent over the June 1, 2007 closing share price of $20.08 and a premium of approximately 34 percent over the average closing share price during the 30 trading days ending June 1, 2007.
The total value of the transaction is approximately $340 million. The companies expect the transaction to close during the second half of fiscal 2007.
This acquisition comes on the heels of 1-800 Contacts selling its ClearLab business. The company sold its flat-pack technology, as well as certain intellectual property and other assets, to Menicon Co., Ltd., Japan's largest independent contact lens manufacturer. 1-800 Contacts sold ClearLab's manufacturing distribution and customer support operations to Mi Gwang Contact Lens Co., a Korean-based contact lens manufacturer. Included in this agreement, Mi Gwang will also acquire the Singapore manufacturing facility, certain tangible property, other assets, the outstanding capital stock of the U.K. entities and the trade payables and current accrued liabilities related to the Singapore operations.
|■ The FDA recently granted Contamac clearance to market its Optimum range of materials to be prescribed in otherwise non-diseased eyes that require GP lenses for managing irregular corneal conditions such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration or following penetrating keratoplasty or refractive surgery (such as LASIK).|
■ The FDA also recently granted expanded indications in Paragon Vision Sciences' Paragon HDS, Paragon Thin, Paragon HDS 100, FluoroPerm 30, 60, 92 and FluoroPerm 151 for managing irregular corneal conditions (in otherwise non-diseased eyes) for keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, post penetrating keratoplasty, post radial keratotomy and post LASIK surgery. In other company news, Paragon has changed the laser mark of its Paragon CRT lenses to include the exact numeric parameter of the Landing Zone Angle, rather than the original lettering system.
■ WaveTouch Technologies, LLC has acquired from Optical Connection, Inc. the equipment, inventory, manufacturing know how, licenses/intellectual property and assigned contracts associated with the custom lathe soft lens and GP business as well as WaveTouch wavefront guided contact lenses. Optical Connection will continue to manufacture and distribute its family of Definition AC and private label brands out of its San Diego facility.
■ Optivision, Inc. and VisionWeb have partnered to allow labs utilizing Optivision software to receive electronic orders directly into their production processes through Visionweb's online ECP ordering service. Also, Optivision labs may now send orders electronically to other VisionWeb labs regardless of the lab software the receiving lab is running.
■ Menicon Co., Ltd. has partnered with UltraVision CLPL in the United Kingdom and Ireland on the exclusive distribution of Menicon PremiO, the company's new silicone hydrogel contact lens. All other Menicon products for the United Kingdom and Ireland will continue to be directly managed by Menicon UK. In other company news, Menicon has appointed Steve Newman vice president of R&D, with particular focus on the the recently acquired flat pack technology. The company has also formed an equity participation agreement with the Vision Science Research & Development Institute of Wenzhou Medical College, located in Wenzhou City, Zheng Jiang Province, China.
■ The World Council of Optometry (WCO) has named Robert Chappell, OBE MPhil DSc(hon) FCOptom of the United Kingdom its new president. He will strive to implement the WCO's new strategic plan and communications policies while strengthening membership and recruitment retention.
■ The Contact Lens Society of America (CLSA) will hold its second annual Summer Management Conference from August 10-11, 2007 at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The theme for this conference will be Business and Fitting Strategies to Improve Contact Lens Practice Success.
■ The World Health Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), has adopted its Medium-Term Strategic Plan for 2008-2013, which commits WHO and its 193 member governments to give greater attention to blindness and visual impairment. The news was welcomed by HRH The Countess of Wessex, Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, WHO's partner in the Vision 2020: The Right to Sight global initiative for eliminating avoidable blindness.
■ Bausch & Lomb has formed a focused team of retinal products representatives for the United States market who will represent the Millennium Microsurgical System and associated products, Storz vitreoretinal instruments, Retisert and Vitrasert sustained drug delivery implants and PreserVision eye vitamin and mineral supplement.
■ The Illinois College of Optometry has recognized Janice Scharre, OD, MA, retiring dean of ICO, as the first recipient of the Dr. Joseph L. Henry Achievement Award, which honors individuals who exemplify extraordinary service and dedication to healthcare communities and healthcare advocacy.