Cooper to Acquire Sauflon Pharmaceuticals
The Cooper Companies, Inc. has entered into definitive agreements to acquire Sauflon Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a European manufacturer and distributor of soft contact lenses and care solutions, in a transaction valued at approximately $1.2 billion. Sauflon forecasts revenue of approximately $210 million for its fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2014, up approximately 22% year-over-year.
According to the company, this acquisition gives CooperVision the world’s most comprehensive daily disposable portfolio and allows the company to offer a multi-tier daily strategy that includes a full suite of silicone hydrogel and hydrogel lenses, including options within all categories—spheres, torics, and multifocals. The daily disposable segment is the fastest growing of the soft lens market.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is anticipated to close prior to fiscal year end, Oct. 31, 2014. Excluding one-time charges and deal-related amortization, the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share in fiscal 2015. The acquisition will be financed with offshore cash and credit facilities.
Alcon to License Google “Smart Lens” Technology
Alcon, a division of Novartis, has entered into an agreement with Google[x], a team within Google, to develop and commercialize Google’s “smart lens” technology. The agreement marries Google’s expertise in miniaturized electronics, low power chip design, and microfabrication with Alcon’s expertise in physiology and visual performance of the eye, clinical development and evaluation, as well as commercialization of contact and intraocular lenses.
Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a “smart lens” that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics that are embedded within contact lenses.
Two main areas of interest include:
• Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body’s glucose levels via a “smart contact lens,” which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device; and
• For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the “smart lens” has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye’s natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.
The transaction remains subject to anti-trust approvals.
B+L Recalling Muro 128 Lots
Bausch + Lomb (B+L) is recalling 22 lots of Muro 128 5% Ointment (Sodium Chloride Hypertonicity Ophthalmic Ointment, 5%) and 35,000 tubes of an unbranded sodium chloride product sold by Major Pharmaceuticals. A May 30, 2014 recall notice sent to retailers and distributors states that B+L initiated the voluntary recall following patient complaints associated with crystal precipitate formation in the tubes, which prompted B+L to recall the product in the interest of public safety. Potential adverse events include injury to the cornea, leading to foreign body sensations, eye irritation, and abrasions. Patients complained of a sandy, gritty feeling in the eye.
According to the Wall Street Journal, B+L said affected products may have been exposed to freezing temperatures after leaving company-owned facilities last winter and that freezing temperatures can cause the crystal formations in the salt-based product. Boxes containing the tubes carry a “do not freeze” label.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified this as a Class II recall: a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or in which the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.
A copy of the recall notice is available at www.majorpharmaceuticals.com/pdf/recalls/Muro-128-Ointment.pdf, and further details are available in the Enforcement Report for the week of July 2, 2014 posted on the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov).
TVCI LAUNCHES UV PROTECTION APP
To help eyecare professionals educate patients about the causes and effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure and steps that they can take to help protect patients’ eyes from harmful UV rays, The Vision Care Institute, LLC, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, has launched The Vision Care Institute UV Protection App.
Practitioners and office staff can use this resource during patient evaluations and follow-up communications to educate patients about who needs protection, the cumulative effects of UV rays on the eyes, the impact of environmental exposure to the eyes throughout the day, and steps to take to help protect eyes from UV radiation.
The Vision Care Institute UV Protection App is free and was designed specifically for use with the iPad. It can be downloaded via the Apple App Store. It is not intended as, and does not constitute, medical or eyecare advice. It is available only in the U.S. App Store at this time.
Coyle Re-Elected President of ASCO
Pacific University College of Optometry Dean Jennifer Coyle, OD, MS, was elected for a second term as president of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Dr. Coyle continues to lead the association comprised of 21 schools and colleges of optometry in the 50 states and Puerto Rico. Dr. Coyle’s term will conclude on June 30, 2015.
Additional elected officers to the board of directors are: president-elect Dr. Richard Phillips, president, Southern College of Optometry; immediate past-president Dr. David Heath, president, State University of New York, State College of Optometry; secretary-treasurer Dr. Joseph A. Bonanno, dean, Indiana University, School of Optometry; and at-large member Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, founding dean, Western University of Health Sciences.
ASCO also welcomed a record number of new directors to the board, including: Dr. John Flanagan, dean, University of California at Berkeley, School of Optometry; Dr. Lori Grover, dean, Salus University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry; Dr. Kelly Nichols, dean, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Dr. Timothy Wingert, dean, University of The Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry; and Dr. Joseph Zinkovich, acting associate dean, MCPHS University, School of Optometry.
GSLS Invites Papers, Posters
The Program Committee of the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) invites paper and abstract submissions related to presbyopia, keratoconus, corneal topography, post-penetrating keratoplasty or related irregular corneal surface, myopia, orthokeratology, and lens care topics. Also, up to two photographic images can be submitted for the Photo Contest in two categories: 1) Contact Lens and 2) Cornea/Conjunctiva/Lids. Submission deadline is Aug. 31, 2014 at www.gslsymposium.com.
AOA Swears in New Board of Trustees
Officers and trustees of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014-2015 Board of Trustees were officially sworn into office at the AOA’s annual conference, which was held in Philadelphia in June.
The 2014-2015 Board of Trustees includes:
President: David A. Cockrell, OD, Oklahoma
President-Elect: Steven A. Loomis, OD, Colorado
Vice President: Andrea P. Thau, OD, New York
Secretary-Treasurer: Christopher J. Quinn, OD, New Jersey
Immediate Past President: Mitchell T. Munson, OD, Colorado
Trustees: Gregory A. Caldwell, OD (continuing to serve), Pennsylvania; Barbara L. Horn, OD (re-elected), Michigan; Robert C. Layman, OD (continuing to serve), Ohio; Samuel D. Pierce, OD (re-elected), Alabama; William T. Reynolds, OD (continuing to serve), Kentucky; and James P. DeVleming, OD (newly elected), Washington.
■ Alden Optical, Inc. has signed an agreement to license manufacturing rights to both NovaKone and Zenlens to UCO Lenzen, a soft and GP lens manufacturer in The Netherlands. UCO Lenzen will manufacture NovaKone and Zenlens under license from Alden and distribute both lenses in The Netherlands and Belgium. Further, UCO Lenzen will manufacture lenses for Six Six Contacts Limited for distribution in the United Kingdom and for Sanalens for distribution in Italy. Availability of NovaKone and Zenlens in the markets mentioned is expected to be solidified by September 2014.
■ Rapid Pathogen Screening, Inc. (RPS) has restructured the North American licensing rights to the AdenoPlus test as well as two diagnostic tests in development. Effective Aug. 1, 2014, RPS will resume responsibility for marketing these tests to eyecare professionals in the United States and to all medical professionals in Canada. RPS already manufactures and markets the AdenoPlus test to primary and urgent care professionals in the United States. Nicox will continue to commercialize AdenoPlus and the previously licensed development products in all markets outside of North America.
■ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ozurdex (Allergan) as a new treatment option for diabetic macular edema (DME) in adult patients who have an artificial lens implant (pseudophakic) or who are scheduled for cataract surgery (phakic). The Ozurdex implant is already indicated for the treatment of macular edema following branch retinal vein occlusion or central retinal vein occlusion and for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis affecting the posterior segment of the eye.
■ ABB Optical Group has announced that Emily Ashworth has joined the company as chief technology officer. In her new position, Ashworth’s responsibilities include evaluating overall IT operations, managing the design and implementation of new applications and changes to existing computer systems and software, evaluating and procuring new hardware and software to meet company needs, and planning for all IT-related activities.
■ Optometry Giving Sight (OGS) has appointed Eric Anderson as chief development officer for North America. Mr. Anderson is a senior development leader with more than 25 years of experience in all aspects of fundraising management. OGS has identified support for the establishment of new Schools of Optometry in Haiti and southern Mexico as priority projects over the next few years. OGS also announced that registration for North America for the 2014 World Sight Day Challenge is now open at www.givingsight.org. Now in its seventh year, the World Sight Day Challenge is the largest annual global fundraising campaign to address avoidable blindness caused by uncorrected refractive error—the need for an eye exam and glasses. The campaign has set a fundraising target of $1 million in 2014.
■ The Seventh Annual Prevent Blindness Swing Fore Sight Golf Tournament, held in conjunction with Vision Expo West, will take place on Sept. 17, 2014, at the Spanish Trail Country Club in Las Vegas. The Transitions Healthy Sight for Life Fund is the event’s gold sponsor. Additional sponsors to date include Essilor USA, National Association of Vision Care Plans (NAVCP), Refac, REM Eyewear, and Vision Ease. Visit http://preventblindness.org/swingforesight.