Novartis Completes Purchase of Stake in Alcon
Novartis AG and Nestlé S.A. have completed the first step purchase and sale of 74 million shares of Alcon, Inc. common stock, making Novartis the owner of a minority stake in Alcon equal to approximately 25 percent of Alcon's issued capital. Nestlé remains the majority shareholder with approximately 52 percent of Alcon's issued capital.
An agreement reached between Novartis and Nestlé in April also includes options for Novartis to purchase Nestlé's remaining Alcon common shares, beginning on January 1, 2010 and expiring on July 31, 2011. If these options are exercised, Novartis would become the majority shareholder of Alcon with approximately 77 percent of its issued shares.
Because of Novartis' minority investment, the Alcon board of directors has expanded from eight to 10 directors, adding James Singh, Nestlé's executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Daniel Vasella, MD, Novartis' chairman and chief executive officer. Alcon shareholders approved the expansion of the board and the election of Singh and Vasella at the company's 2008 annual general meeting.
|Opti-Free Starter Kits Go Greener|
|Alcon has designed new, more eco-friendly starter kits for its Opti-Free Replenish solution. The new kit contains a lens case and the same-sized bottle as the current kit, but in a package that is 44 percent smaller and uses less paper, according to Alcon.|
Alcon is also teaming up with U.S. optometrists to help revive the planet. Alcon will make a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant up to 10,000 new trees in US National Forests. Visit www.opti-free.com/eye-doctor/eco-friendly-starter-kit for more information.
AOA Seal for Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism
The American Optometric Association has awarded Vistakon's Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism with the Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbing Contact Lenses from the AOA's Commission on Ophthalmic Standards. The AOA Commission determined that Acuvue Oasys meets AOA specifications for ultraviolet-absorbing contact lenses, which are in accordance with published standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). This is the fourth lens in the Acuvue family of products to receive this Seal.
Management Changes for B&L
■ Bausch & Lomb has named Joseph Barr, OD, MS, as vice president, Global Clinical & Medical Affairs and Professional Services, Vision Care. In this newly created position, Dr. Barr is responsible for leading a team of clinical researchers, medical affairs and professional services professionals.
"Dr. Barr's knowledge, insights, and opinions are widely known and respected worldwide in the ophthalmic industry," said Stuart Heap, B&L's global president, Vision Care. "As we strengthen our focus on how to best serve our customers, Joe was my first choice to lead this newly established function, which I believe is central to our continued growth and success."
Dr. Barr joined B&L in July 2007 as vice president, global research and development, Vision Care. Prior, he served as the associate dean for Clinical Services and Professional Program at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. From 1987 to 2007, Dr. Barr was editor of Contact Lens Spectrum, and also edited the Contact Lenses Today weekly e-mail newsletter.
B&L also recently named John W. Sheets, Jr., PhD, as corporate vice president and chief technology officer. He will lead the company's global research and development efforts. Dr. Sheets has more than 25 years of experience in the medical device industry with a specialization in ophthalmic research and development. He most recently served as global president and CEO of Hoya Surgical Optics.
"We expect [Dr. Sheets'] leadership to have an exceptionally positive impact on strengthening our existing and future product pipeline," said Gerald M. Ostrov, B&L's chairman and CEO.
|AMO, IER to Develop Lens Care Products|
|Advanced Medical Optics is partnering with the Institute for Eye Research to develop contact lens disinfectant and cleaning solutions and related products.|
AMO Executive Vice President, Research and Development Leonard Bormann said, "We look forward to working closely with the IER on the development of next-generation contact lens solutions."
"Through our collaboration with AMO, we will work to develop, test and deliver, through product innovation and education, the best in contact lens care products," said IER CEO Brien Holden, PhD. "Our goal is to develop new, safer, better and more convenient initiatives in the field of contact lens cleaning and disinfection systems, including the containers for storage, cleaning and disinfection."
CIBA Launches/Expands Products
CIBA Vision has made available a new –1.75D cylinder for its Air Optix for Astigmatism lenses. Current cylinder parameters are now –0.75D, –1.25D and –1.75D in around-the-clock axes in 10-degree steps. CIBA plans to later expand the parameters of this lens to include plus powers, high-minus powers and an additional cylinder.
CIBA also announced the national retail introduction of travel-size, two-ounce bottles of Clear Care and Aquify Multi-Purpose Solution (MPS) lens care products. Both travel packs are Transportation Security Administration compliant and meet the requirements for liquids in carry-on baggage. Lens cases are included with both travel-size products.
In support of recommendations by eyecare professionals and to help ensure the safe and effective use of contact lenses, CIBA is proactively implementing a rub to its Aquify MPS regimen, eliminating the no-rub option. The rub step also includes a rinse and five-minute to overnight soak. Timing for implementation of these lens care instruction changes on Aquify packaging will be determined in consultation with the FDA.
|StainingGrid.com Reaches 100,000 Visitors|
|Dr. Gary Andrasko has reported that interest remains high in the clinical research published by Andrasko and associates on the Web site www.staininggrid.com, which has recently surpassed 100,000 hits by viewers. The site contains the results of corneal staining of approximately 100 combinations of contact lenses and contact lens solutions. The researchers maintain an active blog, post the study parameters and provide a clinical tool in the form of a grid. Dr. Andrasko has lectured on his research around the world, and his work has become a critical topic among contact lens care research.|
|FOR THE RECORD|
|In the April 2008 article "Soft Toric Contact Lens Fitting Pearls," by Long D. Tran, OD, FAAO, the author did not mention that when measuring the resultant prescription of obliquely crossed cylinders using trial lenses and a lensometer, rotational compensation using LARS (left-add, right-subtract) must be applied to the resultant prescription to achieve the correct cylinder axis. For example, if the first diagnostic contact lens has rotated 15 degrees to the practitioner's right, 15 degrees must be subtracted from the resultant cylinder axis of the second diagnostic contact lens. Dr. Tran credits and thanks Dr. Tom Quinn for bringing this to his attention.|
The LensComfort Ultrasonic Cleaning, Disinfecting & Storage Unit and LensComfort Multipurpose Solution by Best Health, Inc. were omitted from the 2008 Contact Lenses & Solutions Summary. Contact Lens Spectrum regrets the omission.
AOCLE Presents Awards, Elects Officers
■ The Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) recently held its annual workshop. Contact lens educators representing the 19 North American schools and colleges of optometry attended along with numerous contact lens industry members.
New this year was the presentation of the Dr. Lester Janoff Memorial Award to honor the longtime educator, administrator and researcher who passed away in 2006. The first recipient of this award was Dr. Luigina Sorbara (Waterloo).
Other award recipients included the George Mertz New Educator Travel award in memory of Dr. George Mertz (Vistakon) and presented to new contact lens educators to attend their first AOCLE workshop. This year's recipients were Nicky Lai (TOSU), Eunice Myung Lee (SCCO) and Mika Moy (UCB). Dr. Ron Watanabe (NECO) was also presented with a plaque to thank him for his leadership as chair of the organization between 2006-2008.
New AOCLE officers for 2008-2010 are: Etty Bitton (Montreal), chair; Vinita Henry (UMSL), vice chair; Bruce Morgan (MCO), secretary; John Corzine (UCB), treasurer; Ron Watanabe (NECO), immediate past chair; John Mark Jackson (SCO), Sue Kovacich (IU), Andrea Janoff (NOVA), communications.
|■ Tru-Form Optics, Inc. and Lens Dynamics, Inc. have entered into a patent licensing agreement that covers quadrant-specific technology that may be applied to certain contact lenses designed and manufactured by the companies. Tru-Form was granted a patent for Quad Technology in 2007, under which the company markets its QuadraKone lens design for keratoconus. Lens Dynamics markets its Quad Sym designs for irregular corneas.|
■ Menicon Co., Ltd and the Novovision Clinic in Madrid are undertaking the Myopia Control with Orthokeratology contact lenses in Spain (MCOS) study to compare the axial length growth between white European myopic children wearing ortho-k contact lenses vs. distance single-vision spectacles over a two-year period. Menicon says the MCOS study offers a prospective design, well matched samples and high-resolution ocular biometry measures, which collectively should elucidate whether ortho-k contact lens wear is a feasible method of myopia control.
■ Professor Brien Holden, University of NSW, has received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from The Ohio State University in recognition of his tireless work in attempting to eliminate avoidable blindness throughout the world. Professor Holden joins astronaut Lawrence DeLucas, a crew member of the space shuttle Columbia, as the only two optometrists to receive this accolade from OSU.
■ Valley Contax President Stephen G. Young recently announced the immediate promotion of Janice Schramm as the new president of Young's Valley Contax, Inc. Young will remain active in the company and serve as chief financial officer as Schramm transitions to the presidency. She will continue as the lead GP contact lens consultant at Valley Contax.
■ Paragon Vision Sciences celebrated the sixth anniversary of its Paragon CRT in June. Paragon CRT was the first therapeutic contact lens FDA-approved for overnight contact lens corneal reshaping.
■ Charles A. "Ted" Bayshore, OD, a contact lens pioneer and developer of the Bayshore technique of contact lens fitting, passed away in June at the age of 88. The holder of three eye-correction patents, he was a consultant to many of the major contact lens manufacturers and a recipient of numerous awards including Grand Honours from the Eye Research Foundation and the Herschel Gold Medal from the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists.
■ Alcon has entered into a patent cross-licensing agreement with Advanced Medical Optics relating to lubricious coatings for intraocular lens (IOL) insertion devices and a specified one-piece IOL design. The agreement provides AMO with paid-up, non-exclusive, worldwide licenses under a family of Alcon patents (Technis Model ZCB00 IOL). In addition, Alcon will receive paid-up, non-exclusive, worldwide licenses under two families of patents owned by AMO (Monarch and Acrysert brand IOLs).
■ Vistakon Pharmaceuticals reports that new research shows its Iquix (levofloxacin 1.5%) does not adversely affect the corneal endothelium in humans even after intensive dosing.
■ The FDA has approved Allergan's Trivaris (triamcinolone acetonide injectable suspension) 80 mg/mL, a synthetic glucocorticoid corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory action delivered via intravitreal injection.
■ The FDA has approved Sirion Therapeutics' new drug application for Durezol (difluprednate ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%, a topical steroid indicated for the treatment of postoperative ocular inflammation and pain. Sirion Therapeutics plans to make Durezol commercially available in late 2008.
■ Bausch & Lomb has received FDA approval to market the Crystalens HD in the United States. Crystalens HD is the fourth generation of the Crystalens IOL that was first approved in late 2003.
■ Alcon has terminated the development program designed to evaluate the benefit of anecortave acetate treatment on the risk for developing choroidal neovascularization secondary to AMD. The company continues to study anecortave acetate administered as an anterior juxtascleral depot to reduce IOP in patients with open-angle glaucoma.
|■ CIBA Launches Site for Academy for Eyecare Excellence|
Following the introduction of the CIBA Vision Academy for Eyecare Excellence in February 2008, the company has launched www.cibavisionacademy.com. This new site provides an overview of the Academy for Eyecare Excellence as well as easy access to information about the programs it offers. The site currently includes information and content from programs available in the United States and United Kingdom, but will be expanded in the near future to include content relevant to eyecare professionals in other countries.
■ Gelflex Updates Web Site
Gelflex Laboratories has updated its Web site at www.gelex.com. The site now includes information on new products the company is manufacturing, including Ningaloo colored contact lenses and Sofclear frequent replacement soft lenses.
■ Alcon Launches E-Magazine
Alcon has launched Opti, a new e-magazine dedicated to celebrating the beauty of our eyes. Articles cover many subjects from eye care tips and short stories to lifestyle guides and humor columns. Visit www.optifree.com/emagazine.