AMO Launches Solution
Early last month, Advanced Medical Optics began shipping its Complete MPS Easy Rub Formula, a new Complete product using an existing formulation containing Poloxamer 237, which became available to U.S. and European practitioners and patients in late August. This marks the company's re-entry into the multipurpose market following the May recall of Complete MoisturePlus. AMO had originally expected that the product wouldn't be available until later this month.
"The proprietary formula we are re-launching has all the necessary regulatory approvals and has been sold globally for a number of years. The product has earned an excellent safety record and provides effective disinfection capability and comfort," said Randy Meier, CFO, COO and head of the eye care business in an Aug. 2 live Web cast. "We will actively promote the product with a rub and rinse lens cleaning regimen, as well as consumer education to achieve patient compliance, an approach that has been endorsed by virtually every major optometric and ophthalmic professional organization."
CMP Still in Use?
In related news, on Aug. 1 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that many consumers may not be aware of the May 2007 recall of AMO's Complete MoisturePlus solution and have continued to use the recalled product. Several cases of Acanthamoeba keratitis have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that involve the use of the solution.
|CooperVision Offers 1 Day Kit|
|CooperVision, Inc. is now offering practitioners the 1 Day No Solution Solution Kit, an information kit to help them communicate the key benefits of the daily disposable modality to their patients. The kit includes a fitting set of ClearSight 1 Day lenses, a 1 Day category brochure, chairside aid, poster and literature display. To request a kit, visit www.coopervision.com/solutionkit.|
B&L Closer to Merging
■ Bausch & Lomb shareholders are set to meet Sept. 21 to vote on the proposed merger of B&L with Warburg Pincus. B&L's Board of Directors, acting upon the recommendation of an independent Special Committee, unanimously approved the agreement and advised that all shareholders approve the merger agreement. If approved by shareholders this month, affiliates of Warburg Pincus will acquire all outstanding shares of B&L common stock for $65 per share in cash. B&L filed definitive proxy materials in connection with its pending merger agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in August.
The Board's decision came after what became a somewhat heated exchange between B&L and Advanced Medical Optics, who had entered into a go-shop process to purchase B&L for $4.2 billion, or $75 per share.
B&L asked AMO to revise its bid in late July. AMO responded that it was still interested in the merger and believed it had made the superior offer. A few days later, AMO received a letter from B&L requesting, among other assurances of a positive outcome to the deal, evidence that AMO shareholders were in favor of the merger. AMO responded that the time frame to gather the requested information was too short and requested weeks instead of days to respond to the request. B&L refused to give AMO more time, and AMO withdrew its bid.
|■ The American Board of Opticianry and the National Contact Lens Examiners will hold their first National Educational Conference Sept. 19-21, 2008 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The conference will offer three days of training and education to improve optician's technical, professional, managerial and personal performance, as well as more than 100 hours of ABO and NCLE approved education.|
■ CooperVision has established a direct sales presence in China by opening an office in Shanghai. The company estimates the size of the contact lens market in China at about $85 million in manufacturer dollars growing at about 9 percent per year.
■ Alcon, Inc. has appointed Richard Croarkin to the position of senior vice president and chief financial officer. Mr. Croarkin was previously executive vice president finance and chief financial officer of Nestle Waters North America. The company also announced plans to buy WaveLight AG of Germany, a maker of refractive laser and diagnostic systems. WaveLight's executive committee is backing the deal and plan to recommend it to shareholders.
■ The Vision Care Institute, LLC, a Johnson & Johnson company, is offering its new AchieveVision Program to Olympic athletes and hopefuls. The program will assess and help optimize athletes' visual skills, including visual acuity and dynamic visual skills such as hand-eye coordination, peripheral vision and reaction time, in preparation for the upcoming Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
■ Bausch & Lomb has acquired Soothe emollient eye drops from Alimera Sciences. B&L plans to expand upon the Soothe brand's success, establishing a broader line of professionally recommended, over-the-counter products to relieve dry eye symptoms. B&L has begun shipping a new over-the-counter formulation, Soothe Lubricant Eye Drops Long Lasting Relief Preservative Free, which uses a new hydrophilic polymer to stabilize and rebuild the tear film, according to B&L.
■ A study in the September 2007 issue of Current Medical Research Opinion reports that Allergan's Optive artificial tear formulation improved both tear breakup time and conjunctival lissamine green staining in dry eye patients already using prescription therapy (cyclosporine).
■ Eyemaginations, provider of 3D education and marketing software, has opened an international headquarters in Erlangen, Germany. Robert Habel, vice president of International Sales and general manager of Eyemaginations Europe GmbH, will head the international headquarters.
■ Advanced Medical Optics has received FDA approval for its Advanced CustomVue Monovision procedure, a wavefront-guided laser vision correction procedure for the correction of myopia and presbyopia, with and without astigmatism.
■ The AOA Paraoptometric Section, has designated Sept. 16-22, 2007 as Paraoptometric Recognition Week, designed to honor paraoptometrics for their dedication to patients and the profession of optometry.
Survey Shows Patients Unaware of Lens Options
Many patients are unaware of new lens options and how to correctly care for their contact lenses, according to a recent survey by the Contact Lens Council.
The "Eye on Innovations" survey of 500 patients and 298 practitioners revealed that 83 percent of respondents said they would like to try contact lenses if the technology met their needs. However, the majority were unaware of the new technology that would meet those needs including silicone hydrogel lenses, toric lenses for astigmatism and UV protection.
The study also highlighted different perceptions about comfort between patient and practitioner. While only 27 percent of practitioners think comfort is the main reason for the purchase of contact lenses, wearers who responded to the survey cite comfort as the most important reason.
The recent lens care solution recalls have prompted a lot of coverage in the consumer press about proper lens care, but the May survey revealed that current contact lens wearers are still unaware of proper cleaning and care techniques for their lenses. More than 44 percent of contact lens wearers surveyed always or occasionally top-off their contact lens solution and less than half (46 percent) of the respondents clean their lens case after each use, despite the fact that the majority of practitioners (71 percent) recommend patients clean their case after each use. Nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents also reported wearing their lenses longer than recommended.
|Menicon Makes Plans for Flat-pack Technology|
|As reported in the July News Spectrum, Menicon Co., Ltd., has acquired flat-pack technology, including all intellectual properties and other related assets, from 1-800 Contacts and ClearLab International. Menicon entered into a licensing agreement with 1-800 Contacts in December 2004 to become the exclusive licensee of this technology in Japan, but the new agreement makes Menicon the sole owner of the flat-pack technology on a global basis. Menicon will commercialize the technology as flat-pack daily disposable lenses and will license the technology to other manufacturers. Menicon plans to manufacture the Flat Pack daily disposable lens in Singapore to export to global markets.|
Following the acquisition, the former ClearLab R&D team headed by Mr. Steve Newman joined Menicon, effective in mid-June.
B&L Facility Passes Inspection
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration completed an inspection of Bausch & Lomb's Greenville, S.C., solutions manufacturing and distribution plant, confirming that both facilities are in acceptable compliance.
The assessment of the facility was a follow up to the agency's inspection conducted from March 22 through May 15, 2006, following the global recall of ReNu with MoistureLoc manufactured at the facility. At that time, the FDA issued a Form 483 report containing a series of observations. B&L responded with a comprehensive plan of corrective actions on June 30, 2006. In October 2006, the FDA issued a Warning Letter summarizing the agency's assessment of the corrective actions completed as of June 30 and documenting those corrective actions still in process at the time.
Earlier this year, B&L conducted a voluntary recall of 12 lots of ReNu MultiPlus manufactured at the Greenville plant in early 2006.
At the conclusion of the most recent inspection on June 29, 2007, the agency communicated to the company that all corrective actions had been completed appropriately and no objectionable observations were made.
|■ GP Troubleshooting Guide Now Available|
The GP Lens Institute has made available its GP Lens Case Grand Rounds Troubleshooting Guide at www.gpli.info, listed under GP Clinical Education. It currently features 52 cases of different types of GP lens patients, with the hope to expand it to more than 100 cases within the next 12 months.
■ CooperVision Offers More Online Courses
The CooperVision Online Learning Center at http://learning.coopervision.com has added three new courses since its initial launch in May. New courses include training on CooperVision's Biofinity lenses and AquaForm Technology, training and background on the benefits of CooperVision PC Hydrogel Technology, and fitting Balanced Progressive Technology multifocal designs. CooperVision also offers its e-commerce site, MyCooperVision, available via www.coopervision.com. It offers secure online ordering, including trial lenses, access to account information and many other features.