Professor Brien Holden Passes Away
Brien Holden, OAM, CEO of Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI), Professor at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW Australia, and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on July 27 in Sydney at the age of 73. A global leader in eye care and vision research, internationally renowned and awarded scientist and humanitarian, Professor Holden was known as the most influential optometrist of our generation. He inspired scientists and healthcare professionals around the world with his dream of “vision for everyone, everywhere.”
While accepting the Charles F. Prentice Medal, optometry’s highest honor, and acknowledging contributions and collaborations throughout his career, Professor Holden quoted Sir Isaac Newton, saying “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Contact Lens Spectrum Editor Professor Jason Nichols said, “Brien was more than the greatest and most influential optometrist the world has ever known. He was a remarkably caring human being and a tremendous friend. There is no way that words can even come close to expressing the void left in his absence. The world has lost a light that will never be lit again, but rest assured that we carry forward with his vision for everyone, everywhere.”
Speaking on behalf of BHVI, Deputy CEO Professor Kovin Naidoo noted that Professor Holden was truly an intellectual giant in eye health and vision, a powerhouse driving change by mobilizing teams globally united in science and service to the disadvantaged of our world.
Professor Brian Layland, chair of the BHVI board and lifelong friend of Professor Holden, stated, “Brien’s efforts and achievements have been recognized, applauded, and adopted worldwide. All who have worked with him will have fond memories to cherish; all will miss him. His legacy will encourage all to strive to achieve the goals he had set.”
The September issue of Contact Lens Spectrum will feature a tribute article to Professor Holden.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals to Acquire Unilens
Unilens Vision Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement under which a subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Unilens for $12.75 per share in cash, or a total enterprise value of approximately $28 million, which includes approximately $5 million in debt. The transaction was unanimously approved by Unilens’ board of directors and is expected to close by Sept. 1, 2015, subject to stockholder approval and customary closing conditions.
The acquisition will bolster Valeant’s specialty contact lens business and will provide a complete line of specialty lens products to eyecare professionals. The Unilens C-Vue brands of customized and disposable contact lenses will continue to be marketed and sold directly to practitioners.
Benton, Dawson Join Shire
Shire has hired Susan Benton as head of Business Development, Ophthalmics. Ms. Benton has more than 25 years of commercial business experience, including 17 years focused in ophthalmology. She will be responsible for business development initiatives stemming from Shire’s organic research and development efforts as well as acquisitions and partnerships.
In 2006, Ms. Benton cofounded Sirion Therapeutics, a fully integrated ophthalmic biopharmaceutical company. Prior to Sirion, she held numerous commercial and business development leadership positions at RPS Diagnostics, Valeant, Johnson & Johnson, Bausch + Lomb, and Sanofi Pasteur.
Also joining Shire is Dr. Tracey Dawson as Commercial Launch Lead, Ophthalmics. In this role, she is responsible for developing and leading the overall commercial launch planning process for the Ophthalmics Business Unit.
Most recently, Dr. Dawson was senior director, Global and U.S. Marketing at Synageva BioPharma Corporation. Prior to this, she held positions with Genentech/Roche and Novartis.
Cooper Appoints Guy Whittaker VP, Global Marketing
CooperVision has appointed Guy Whittaker as vice president, Global Marketing. He is responsible for advancing the company’s master and product brands, marketing its range of contact lens products and services, and strengthening its reputation worldwide in collaboration with its customers. Mr. Whittaker, a former practicing optometrist, has held management roles with CooperVision since 1998. Most recently he was general manager, Australia/New Zealand & Southeast Asia and vice president, Strategy, Asia-Pacific. Prior, he held positions as vice president, Marketing, Asia-Pacific; director of Global Marketing with responsibility for the launch of the Biofinity brand; and director of European Marketing.
Ferrigno Joins SynergEyes
SynergEyes, Inc. has appointed Bob Ferrigno as the senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing. In this newly created position, he will be responsible for sales, marketing, professional relations, and the international group. Dave Fancher, previous vice president of Sales, will move into the position of vice president of Corporate Development.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, Ferrigno most recently served as the president of North America for CooperVision. Before that, he was with Becton Dickinson, a global medical technology company, for 32 years.
Applications Available for Annual ABB Cares Program
ABB Optical Group began accepting applications for its second annual ABB Cares program on Aug. 3. Designed to recognize outstanding community organizations across the country, eyecare professionals are invited to nominate non-profits for grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Applications are due before Sept. 1.
Five organizations will be selected as recipients of an ABB Cares grant. ABB Optical Group will award one Platinum grant of $5,000, two Gold grants of $2,500 each, and two Silver grants of $1,000 each to organizations that have a demonstrated, positive impact on their local communities.
Organizations do not need to focus on eye health to qualify. To be considered as a grant recipient, all candidates must comply with the following:
• The organization must be a 501(c)(3) organization and provide proof of this status.
• The organization’s local office must be within 30 miles of the nominating practice’s primary location.
• Applications must be completed and submitted online.
• The deadline to submit an application is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31.
ONS to Sponsor Symposium
The Ocular Nutrition Society (ONS) will sponsor a Nutrition Education Symposium preceding the American Academy of Optometry 2015 Meeting on Oct. 6, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the New Orleans Convention Center. The program will feature experts from a variety of disciplines who will present clinically applicable information regarding the latest advances in clinical and laboratory testing pertinent to nutrition in the optometric practice. Visit www.ocularnutritionsociety.org.
GCLF Offers Free CL Education at Vision Expo West
The Global Contact Lens Forum (GCLF), a “meeting within a meeting,” will once again take place at International Vision Expo West. Some of the most highly respected leaders in the contact lens field will share their expertise, combining the latest scientific content with critical business strategies. Topics presented will include profitability, disease and technology, and forecasting the future of the contact lens industry.
This half-day program will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 16 and will offer six hours of free COPE and NCLE continuing education. The GCLF is endorsed by the British Contact Lens Association and the Contact Lens Society of America; it is supported by Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. Contact Lens Spectrum is the GCLF’s media partner.
Advanced registration is required. For more information, visit www.visionexpowest.com/Continuing-Education/Global-Contact-Lens-Forum.
Allergan Receives Notice Letter on Restasis
Allergan plc confirmed that the company has received a notice letter dated July 10, 2015 from Akorn Pharmaceuticals stating that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received Akorn’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) containing a “Paragraph IV” patent certification seeking approval to market a generic version of Allergan’s Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% product. In addition, Allergan has received communication suggesting that additional ANDAs for generic versions of Restasis may have been received by the FDA.
The notice letter received from Akorn states that the “Paragraph IV” patent certification was made with respect to certain U.S. patents covering the formulation and method of use of the Restasis product, which are listed in the FDA’s Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations, commonly known as the Orange Book. Allergan states that it has five Orange Book-listed patents covering Restasis that are scheduled to expire in August 2024.
Allergan is highly confident in its intellectual property rights relating to Restasis and intends to vigorously enforce such rights in all applicable venues.
■ Alcon has announced the launch of an Air Optix Colors Education Salon designed for contact lens technicians. The company says that this training program provides participants with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to succeed with Air Optix Colors contact lenses. Upon successful completion of the Air Optix Colors Education Salon program, participants will receive an Air Optix Colors Advisor certificate of completion, a digital badge, and an ongoing e-newsletter with best practices from fellow advisors. The program is free of charge and available at www.AirOptixColorsEducation.com and through live sessions at the Vision Expo West and EastWest Eye conferences this fall.
■ Visionary Optics has announced a new, streamlined invoice/credit memo process. Your first Invoice will continue to be the full order charge, and no credit memo will be issued. Any additional invoices, of equal or lesser value, within the 90-day warranty period, will reflect only shipping charges and any applicable additional charges, including (but not limited to) toricity, notching, diameter increase, and tinting. This was designed to enhance the warranty policy that offers unlimited exchanges within 90 days without the need to return your lenses for exchanges.
■ The CLX System, a contact lens ordering, management and patient marketing system, is now fully integrated with OOGP, providing OOGP customers the opportunity to order lenses, manage returns, and capture reorders in a simple, web-based system. Besides streamlining the ordering process for OOGP customers, CLX also provides reports designed to reveal key practice metrics and help guide management strategies for enhanced profitability within the practice.
■ Optovue, a pioneer in spectral-domain optical coherence tomography, has launched Optovue Academy, an online learning portal offering clinical education, technician training, and practice development tracks. Content will be delivered via video PowerPoint presentations, recordings of live presentations, a library of research documents, a forum where learners can comment, and a calendar of live events supported or hosted by Optovue Academy. Optovue Academy will be updated continually with new video courses, articles, and discussion threads. To learn more or to request login credentials, visit www.OptovueAcademy.com.
■ Primary Eyecare Network (PEN), a division of ABB Optical Group, has unveiled a new website designed to enhance the online experience for PEN members. PrimaryEye.net features a consolidated billing portal that offers PEN members quick access to online monthly billing statements. Members will also soon be able to make payments online. The new website offers education listings and online registration, vendor promotions and rebates, and issues of Focal Point, PEN’s bi-monthly newsletter offering practice management tips, advice, and news-you-can-use. PEN will continue adding new features of importance to eyecare practitioners to the website.
■ Bausch + Lomb has submitted a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for Vesneo (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution 0.024%), an IOP lowering single-agent eye drop dosed once daily for patients who have open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The data submitted in the NDA support Vesneo as the first nitric-oxide donating agent for ophthalmic use.