IKA Now Accepting Membership Applications
The International Keratoconus Academy of Eye Care Professionals (IKA), an organization established to promote ongoing professional education and scientific development in the area of keratoconus and other forms of corneal ectasia, announced that it is now accepting applications for membership at www.keratoconusacademy.com and that the first year membership dues are complimentary.
IKA plans to promote the awareness and understanding of the most appropriate and effective treatment strategies for the management of these diseases. According to the organization, it will accomplish this by providing an array of educational initiatives that will include live events, web-based education, social media activities, and publications in the professional literature. It will also be dedicated to supporting ongoing clinical research.
The founding executive board includes S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO; Andrew Morgenstern, OD, FAAO; Timothy McMahon, OD, FAAO; Joseph Barr, OD, MS, FAAO; William Tullo, OD, FAAO; Clark Chang, OD, FAAO; Eric Donnenfeld, MD; and Yaron Rabinowitz, MD. An international physician’s advisory board of expert optometrists and ophthalmologists is being formed.
Alcon Names Merchea Head of Medical Affairs for Vision Care
Alcon, a division of Novartis, has appointed Mohinder (Mo) Merchea, OD, PhD, MBA, as head of Medical Affairs for Vision Care in the United States and Canada.
In his new role for Alcon, Dr. Merchea will develop strategic scientific plans for brands in the Vision Care franchise, with a focus on the needs of patients, the medical and scientific communities, and regulatory authorities. Dr. Merchea will lead regional strategy for Phase IIIb and Phase IV trials in the United States and Canada. In addition to contributing to medical communication, publication, and key conference plans, Dr. Merchea will oversee independent medical education programs for Alcon’s clinician partners.
Dr. Merchea brings more than 18 years of experience in eye health, clinical research, and medical device development. He previously had a 12-year career at Bausch + Lomb, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc., as the head of Medical Affairs, Vision Care; and most recently at Lensar Inc., where he served as the vice president of Clinical & Regulatory Affairs.
Dr. Merchea is a cornea and contact lens specialist with experience designing and executing developmental and post-market clinical trials and laboratory studies. He has supported regulatory submissions, product safety monitoring, and quality assurance for contact lens and surgical devices. He is also experienced in supporting commercial organizations in competitive strategy and tactics, claims development for medical device marketing, key opinion leader strategy, and promotional review.
Dr. Merchea will be based in Fort Worth, Texas.
Naidoo Appointed CEO, BHVI
The board of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has announced the appointment of Professor Kovin Naidoo to the position of CEO. Professor Naidoo was appointed interim CEO following the passing of Professor Brien Holden in July 2015.
Chair of the board Professor Brian Layland, OAM, said the appointment vindicates the outstanding leadership that Professor Naidoo has brought to the role in an interim capacity and his long history of exemplary service to the Institute.
Professor Naidoo is supported by an executive group of Yvette Waddell (COO, BHVI) Dr. Paul Erickson (Head of Research and Development and CEO, Brien Holden Vision Pty Ltd), Amanda Davis (COO, BHVI Public Health), and Dr. Kah Ooi Tan (CEO, BHVI China).
Art Optical Now Mobile Friendly
Art Optical Contact Lens, Inc. has introduced a new practitioner-focused, interactive website. The site, www.artoptical.com, has been updated to current web standards and is now fully responsive for mobile devices. As visitors switch from a desktop computer to a tablet or phone, the site will automatically respond to accommodate for resolution and screen size, making the content widely accessible and easy-to-read on all devices.
Art Optical strives to maintain a dynamic and informative experience for web visitors, so keeping the site current is key. With the aid of a new content management system, providing new information and updates at artoptical.com will now be quick and easy. Site navigation has been improved, and the extensive supply of custom lens fitting tools and practice management resources have now been placed intuitively, making technical information on custom lenses easier to find, according to the company.
In addition to the mobile-enhanced design and platform overhaul, the website also provides an online custom lens ordering portal and features specialty lens training webinars/videos, published articles on topics of interest to specialty lens fitters, a newsletter archive, a calendar of events, and more.
Positive Results for Dry Eye Treatment
Auven Therapeutics announced results from its Phase 2b/3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Seciera (OTX-101). Seciera is a novel, investigational nanomicellar formulation of cyclosporine utilizing patent-protected proprietary technology to enhance penetration into target tissues of the eye. Unlike other ocular formulations of cyclosporine, Seciera is a clear, preservative-free, isotonic aqueous solution.
The 455-patient randomized, double-masked, vehicle-controlled, dose-ranging study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02254265) was conducted at 28 U.S. investigational sites. In the study, both concentrations (0.05% and 0.09%) of Seciera demonstrated statistical superiority over placebo-vehicle for the co-primary efficacy endpoint of change from baseline at week 12 in total conjunctival lissamine green staining. The study also demonstrated superiority to placebo-vehicle in tear production and in corneal fluorescein staining (total and inferior) at week 12 for both concentrations. Additionally, the 0.09% dose of Seciera demonstrated superiority to placebo-vehicle in a responder analysis of tear production (≥ 10mm increase in Schirmer’s test) and in central and temporal corneal staining.
In accordance with guidance received from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a single additional Phase 3 trial will be conducted to confirm the significant, clinically meaningful increase in tear production seen in the Phase 2b/3 trial and the large reduction in signs of ocular surface inflammation compared to placebo-vehicle. A long-term safety study will be initiated concurrently. Enrollment for both studies is planned to begin in early 2016. If these studies are successful, the submission of a New Drug Application for Seciera for treatment of dry eye disease is anticipated in early 2017.
Registration Open for CEwire2016
ODwire.org has opened registration for CEwire2016, its second annual virtual optometric conference. CEwire2016 features more than 50 COPE-approved CE lecture hours on a wide variety of topics for optometrists to fulfill their mandatory CE requirements. All courses are newly developed for 2016, covering topics such as anterior segment optical coherence tomography application in contact lens evaluation, scleral contact lenses, dry eye, co-managing LASIK, cataracts, and ocular plastics, and ocular manifestation of systemic disease, among others. The conference also will feature a large virtual exhibit hall where attendees can view materials, access show discounts on products and services, and interact live with participating vendors.
CEwire2016 will be held live online on Jan. 16 to 17, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST both days. All lectures and the exhibit hall will be available on-demand to all U.S. and international registrants for an additional 90 days.
Profits from CEwire2016 will be distributed to The American Optometric Foundation and Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH)/International. Last year’s conference raised more that $20,000 for charities related to optometry and eye care.
■ Alden Optical recently announced that it has received full ISO 13485 certification by successfully demonstrating that the company operates under a comprehensive quality management system for the design and manufacture of medical devices. This industry standard certification further demonstrates Alden Optical’s ongoing commitment to provide practitioners and patients with the highest quality lens designs and diagnostic products.
■ Novaliq GmbH, a specialty pharmaceutical company with a disruptive drug delivery platform that transforms poorly soluble drugs into effective therapeutics for ophthalmology, has announced that Friedrich von Bohlen, PhD, has been appointed chairman of the company’s Supervisory Board and that Jerry Cagle, PhD, has joined as a board member. Dr. von Bohlen has been active in the life sciences since 1997. In 2005, he co-founded Dievini Hopp BioTech holding GmbH & Co KG., where he holds the position of managing director. Dr. Cagle began his career as a faculty member of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Then, for more than three decades, he worked as a member of Alcon’s research and development team. In 1996, Dr. Cagle was named senior vice president of Alcon R&D and chief scientific officer, a position he held until mid-2008.
■ The 55th Annual Heart of America Contact Lens and Primary Care Congress will be held Feb. 12 to 14, 2016 in Kansas City, MO. The Heart of America Contact Lens Society (HOACLS) was founded nearly 50 years ago with 40 original members and the goal to provide post-graduate education in the theory and application of contact lenses. While much has changed since then, HOACLS still pledges to continue the mission of education in primary care optometry and the contact lens specialty. With each new Congress, HOACLS says it strives to provide a wide variety of workshops, symposia, and courses. Each Congress is structured to offer new learning opportunities for optometrists and paraoptometrics. Visit www.hoacls.org for meeting and registration information.
■ Eyeon Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held ophthalmic products development company based in Rochester, NY, has received a Notice of Allowance for additional novel dry eye treatments based on a charged hydrophilic polymer developed at Particle Sciences, a leading drug delivery CDMO (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization). According to the company, the product has been shown to be safe and effective in a small trial previously published. The company announcement stated that the Eyeon Therapeutics product offers a unique approach that is clinically validated and useful in a number of ocular applications. In the coming months, the company will be pursuing partnerships and expanded protection around this product and follow-ons.
■ CareCredit’s Caring Communities Program is making a difference in the vision health of children with a $25,000 grant to Optometry Cares - The AOA Foundation’s InfantSee program. This marks the fourth consecutive year that CareCredit, a leading health wellness and beauty credit card, has contributed to InfantSee. More than 7,300 InfantSee optometrists examine an estimated 10,000 infants annually. CareCredit’s grant will be used to expand awareness of the InfantSee program among new parents through print advertising, brochures, signage and displays, and online efforts.