A Look at Sauflon Contact Lenses
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
This column is the first of a new department launching in Contact Lens Spectrum in 2014 titled Industry Focus, which will feature profiles on companies in the contact lens industry. The idea is that we will initiate a dialogue with the head of a specific company to gain perspective on the company’s business, as well as to learn the company’s perspective on the industry itself.
As such, we’ve chosen Sauflon Pharmaceuticals as our initial Industry Focus subject. The company has gained significant momentum in the European market during the last almost 30 years, and its presence expanded in the U.S. market earlier this year. I recently had the pleasure to sit down with company founder, Mr. Alan Wells.
Q Mr. Wells, please tell us a bit about your company in terms of its history and direction.
Sauflon was established as a privately held company in Twickenham, England in 1985. Initially, Sauflon focused on contact lens aftercare products. In fact, Sauflon developed five specific lens care products as it established itself in the European market during its first 15 years or so of business.
In 2004, the company then ventured into soft lens manufacturing—first with hydrogels, and later with third-generation silicone hydrogels. Sauflon’s patented manufacturing process makes it possible to provide high-quality silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses at the same cost as hydrogel daily disposables. This technology has allowed us to become a major contact lens company in most markets within Europe. We now have sales offices in 14 different countries and sell our products in more than 50 different countries around the world.
I believe another characteristic that sets Sauflon apart is our business model, which is built on two key components. First, we will always strive to give practitioners the latest technology lenses, but not at a premium price. Second, this “affordable innovation” is then paired with the backbone of how Sauflon operates, which is a steadfast policy to work exclusively with and sell products only to eyecare practitioners. Without eyecare practitioners, there would be no contact lens business.
Q Tell us about any new products or new developments in which Sauflon is involved.
One of the most exciting things right now is the global rollout of the Clariti 1day family of silicone hydrogel daily disposable lenses—including entry into the U.S. market in 2014. Clariti 1day is a third-generation silicone hydrogel material (somofilcon A, 56% water content) and is the world’s first family of sphere, toric, and multifocal silicone hydrogel daily disposable contact lenses. Because of our manufacturing process, practitioners can upgrade more patients to the safest, healthiest, and most convenient contact lens modality at little or no additional cost. I believe that the launch of these lenses will significantly help the growth of the U.S. daily disposable market segment even further than what we have observed in the last few years.
Q Tell us your vision for the contact lens field in the short term (less than 5 years) and in the long term (20 years from now).
In the short term, I believe that we will continue to see the daily disposable segment of the market grow, especially in the U.S. market (which has lagged behind many other parts of the world). I think a day will come in the near future in which daily disposables will dominate the market—and we at Sauflon are proud to be a part of this exciting trend. CLS
Dr. Nichols is the Kevin McDaid Vision Source Professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry, as well as editor-in-chief of Contact Lens Spectrum and editor of the weekly email newsletter Contact Lenses Today. He has received research funding or lecture honoraria from Vistakon, Alcon, and Allergan.
Alan Wells, founder, Sauflon Pharmaceuticals