B&L Approves Merger
Bausch & Lomb's shareholders voted to approve the proposed merger with affiliates of Warburg Pincus LLC at a special meeting of shareholders.
At the merger's closing, each outstanding share of common and Class B stock of B&L will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive $65 in cash, without interest, less any applicable withholding taxes. The transaction is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.
Before the shareholder vote, four proxy advisory firms gave their approval to the merger, stating that the deal offered the best value for investors. A previous merger bid from Advanced Medical Optics had been withdrawn, as reported in the September News Spectrum.
"We are pleased with the outcome of today's vote," said Ronald L. Zarrella, chairman and CEO of B&L, after the vote. "On behalf of the Bausch & Lomb Board and management team, I want to thank our shareholders, customers and dedicated employees for their support throughout this process. We look forward to promptly completing the transaction."
AMO Takes Action on Lens Care Education
In response to concerns that contact lens wearers may not be practicing healthy lens care habits as revealed by the recent Eye on Innovations survey from the Contact Lens Council, Advanced Medical Optics has launched its Elevate Your Eye (EYE) Care, a global educational campaign designed to educate lens wearers about proper lens cleaning techniques and to encourage patients to partner with their eyecare professionals for continued eye health. AMO says the goal of the campaign is to help patients maximize the benefits of contact lens wear while minimizing the likelihood of infection. As part of the campaign, AMO has developed an "EyePod" video Podcast series instructing patients about proper lens care techniques and how to use certain lens care products. The podcasts, additional eyecare information and a mechanism for consumers to post comments and questions are available at www.yourhealthyeyes.com.
MTV reality star Lauren Conrad is the official spokesperson of the EYE Care campaign. According to Simmons Market Research, nearly half of all lens wearers fall between the ages of 18 to 34 years, and AMO enlisted Conrad's support to reach this important demographic.
"Through the EYE Care campaign, we are partnering with eyecare professionals to help patients understand the simple steps to keep their eyes healthy and free from infection, including the importance of using a solution with a rub and rinse regimen," said David W. Hansen, OD, FAAO, director, professional services for AMO.
|■ Bausch & Lomb has named Dipankar Bhattacharjee corporate vice president – Asia Pacific Region. Bhattacharjee was most recently vice president – commercial operations, Asia Pacific.|
■ In observance of World Sight Day 2007, which took place on October 11, 2007, ORBIS International and Alcon, Inc. have produced "VISION for Children," an age-appropriate lesson plan for teachers about eye care and blindness prevention. Teachers can download the plan's teacher's guide at www.eyecareeducation.com.
■ Reichert, Inc. has acquired the IOPac Palm based pachymeter product line from Portable Ophthalmic Devices, Inc., and will now manufacture and market them from its ISO-9001 certified and FDA registered facilities in Buffalo, NY.
■ In a friendly takeover offer, Alcon, Inc. has acquired more than 75 percent of WaveLight shares and will move forward with acquiring the company and integrating WaveLight with Alcon's existing refractive business.
■ Unilens Vision Inc. has named Eschenbach Optik the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Unilens UniVision Low Vision Lens. Eschenbach Optik of America, Inc. will serve as the exclusive distributor for North and South America and Eschenbach Optik GmbH + Co will do so for the rest of the world.
■ Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. has entered into a U.S. patent license agreement with Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, in which AMO's IntraLase subsidiary has granted a non-exclusive, royaltybearing license to Carl Zeiss Meditec to use the IntraLase patent portfolio to provide femtosecond technology for corneal surgery.
■ The U.S. House of Representatives has passed HR 507, the "Vision Care for Kids Act," which would provide children with follow-up care needed after identification of a potential vision problem through a comprehensive eye exam or vision screening.
■ In Illinois, the General Assembly passed SB 641 into law, requiring comprehensive eye examinations for children entering kindergarten or enrolling for the first time in public, private or parochial elementary schools in Illinois. The law further requires that only qualified eye doctors can conduct exams. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2008.
■ A new law in Alaska, HB 113, has expanded optometrists' scope of practice to include systemic medications for treating eye diseases and conditions. The American Optometric Association states that this law is important in a state such as Alaska where optometrists are often the only eyecare physicians available in rural areas.
■ Alcon, Inc. has received an approvable letter from the FDA for Retaane 15mg (anecortave acetate depot suspension) for treating wet age-related macular degeneration. The letter advised Alcon that approval will require an additional clinical study. At this time, the company will continue to support the Anecortave Acetate Risk-Reduction Trial that is studying the ability of Retaane suspension to reduce the risk for the progression of the dry form to the wet form of AMD.
CooperVision has made key changes to its management structure, including several promotions of key personnel: Thomas R. Shone to president, CooperVision U.S.; Steve Reiman to vice president of strategic accounts; and Mark W. Bertolin to vice president of sales development and technology. Jeffrey A. McLean will continue as president of the Americas, but he will also oversee distribution and packaging throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Mexico and South America.
In his new role, Shone will be responsible for the sales, marketing, customer service and professional relations functions within the organization. Reiman will focus his efforts on serving regional and mid-sized optometric businesses, while Bertolin will focus on sales development as well as the ongoing advancement of customer support technologies.
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|AMO SHAKES UP MANAGEMENT|
|In mid-October, Michael J. Lambert joined Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. as the company's chief financial officer. Mr. Lambert was most recently senior vice president and chief financial officer of Quest Software, Inc. At AMO, Mr. Lambert will oversee the company's finance accounting, tax, treasury and information technology functions and will report directly to Jim Mazzo, AMO chairman, president and chief executive officer.|
Before Mr. Lambert's appointment, Richard (Randy) A. Meier held positions of chief financial officer and chief operating officer at AMO. He will continue as AMO's chief operating officer and assume additional responsibility for management of the company's cataract/implant business and global customer services function, while maintaining his existing management responsibilities for AMO's eye care business and the company's global manufacturing and supply chain operations. C. Russell Trenary, III, who was previously president of the company's cataract/implant business has been named executive vice president of global public policy and medical education encompassing all of AMO's businesses and product lines.
B&L Asked to Alter Advertising Claim
The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Bausch & Lomb, Inc. discontinue claims that suggest that ReNu MultiPlus is the top-selling or most "trusted" among contact lens wearers.
In a statement, B&L said that while it is "disappointed by NAD's finding that the selection and use by consumers of a medical device does not equate with consumer trust of the product, Bausch & Lomb will be guided by NAD's recommendations in its future advertising."
In question were Internet and brochure advertising claims made by B&L for its ReNu Multi-Plus multi-purpose solution. The following claims were challenged by Alcon Laboratories, Inc.: "ReNu MultiPlus Solution is a solution for soft contact lenses. It is the #1 selling Multi-purpose formula in the U.S." and ReNu Multi-Plus "has been trusted by over 20 million contact lens wearers and their eye care professionals."
During the inquiry, B&L altered the claim to "ReNu MultiPlus Contact Lens Solution, There is a reason why the proven formula in ReNu MultiPlus Solution is the #1 selling contact lens formula."
In its decision, NAD noted that Alcon's Opti-Free Express is currently the leading selling manufacturer brand of multipurpose solution in the United States, and that the exact formulation found in ReNu Multi-Plus is also sold to consumers under private label brands which, in aggregate, exceed sales of Opti-Free Express.
The question before NAD was whether the originally challenged claim and the subsequently modified claim are truthful, accurate and not misleading. After the investigation, NAD recommended that the original claim and modified claim be discontinued. NAD noted that the decision doesn't preclude B&L from making a qualified claim that the formula sold under the brand name together with the same formula as private label store brands is the #1 selling contact lens formula in the United States.
Although NAD found sufficient evidence to support qualified claims regarding sales/use data and recommendations to consumers by practitioners, it concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support the claim that ReNu MultiPlus "has been trusted by over 20 million contact lens wearers and their eye care professionals." Accordingly, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim.
|SECO International Announces Award Recipients|
|SECO International recently announced the recipients of its 2007 Southern Council of Optometrists Clinical Excellence Awards, which recognizes the outstanding academic achievements of students from SECO International affiliated colleges.|
The 2007 recipients are Haley S. Parker of the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham School of Optometry; Tara Boyle from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and Cayce Davis of Southern College of Optometry (SCO), Memphis, Tenn.
Each winner received a check in the amount of $1,000 and plaque at their school graduation and awards ceremonies. SECO International Announces Award Recipients