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NEWS SPECTRUM

SALES DATA SHOW THAT DAILY DISPOSABLES ARE AT THE TOP IN MARKET SHARE

Point-of-sale (POS) data from GfK show continued strong momentum for daily disposable contact lenses, helping to drive overall dollar growth in the U.S. soft contact lens market. But, the number of new contact lens wearers remains flat overall.

GfK says that its contact lens POS panel captures sales data from eyecare practitioners throughout the United States. In January 2017, for the first time, monthly sales of daily disposable lenses surpassed those of monthly lenses in dollar volume, reaching 38.1% market share—up from 31.5% in January 2016. In 2012, daily disposable lenses accounted for just 17.9% of the market.

The company reports that in the U.S. market, the daily disposable lens segment continues to grow at a faster pace compared to any other modality, increasing 21% in dollar volume year over year. New products and innovation continue to drive daily lens sales growth; in 2016, 42% of the growth in the daily category was from product launches in the prior year. Daily disposable multifocal lenses alone grew 45.4% in 2016 over the prior year, with more than three quarters (77.9%) of that growth driven by products launched in 2015.

GfK also says that growing the number of new wearers and keeping wearers in contact lenses continues to be a challenge. In 2016, new lens wearers accounted for just over 21% of all contact lens fittings, according to GfK’s FITS panel, which tracks optometrist visits; that figure is down slightly versus the prior year and is in line with a four-year trend of contraction. Growth in total wearers was also negative, down 0.3% in 2016 over 2015.

According to GfK FITS data, toric contact lenses were the only category to increase in wearers from 2015 to 2016 (up 3.6%). As other lens types saw growth in daily disposable lenses at the expense of their reusable counterparts, toric lenses experienced growth in daily, monthly, and weekly lenses year over year (18.7%, 2.0%, and 1.7%, respectively), which GfK says is indicative of a true increase in toric wearers. This pattern, combined with new toric products slated to release throughout 2017, may aid in patient retention by supplying the astigmatic patient base with more options, according to GfK.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TFOS DEWS II ANNOUNCED

The Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) presented the conclusions and recommendations of the TFOS Dry Eye WorkShop II (DEWS II) during a special session of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting. TFOS DEWS II was designed to achieve a global consensus concerning multiple aspects of dry eye disease and is the sequel to the original TFOS DEWS of 10 years ago.

At ARVO, Dr. J. Daniel Nelson, the workshop chair, presented the new definition of dry eye: “Dry eye is a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by a loss of homeostasis of the tear film, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, ocular surface inflammation and damage, and neurosensory abnormalities play etiological roles.”

The TFOS DEWS II report will be published by The Ocular Surface (scheduled for the end of June) and distributed to scientists, clinicians, and patients worldwide. A downloadable version of the document and additional material will be available on the TFOS website: www.TearFilm.org . Translations of the report will be offered in numerous languages, including but not limited to English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

CONTACT LENS SPECTRUM WEBSITE OFFERS SCLERAL LENS RESOURCES

Contact Lens Spectrum has launched a new resource page that covers all things scleral at www.clspectrum.com/resources/specialty-lens-resources/scleral-lens-resources . Highlighting the page are exclusive videos from the Scleral Lens Education Society that feature conversations with scleral lens pioneers, including Rients Visser, MD; Don Ezekiel, OD; and Perry Rosenthal, MD. The page also has links to a CLS scleral lens-focused editorial supplement and to recent articles as well as troubleshooting FAQs, fitting guides, and care information.

SECOND ANNUAL OPTOMETRY STUDENT CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED

ABB Optical Group, in partnership with Paragon Vision Sciences, is accepting abstracts for its 2017-2018 Optometry Student Challenge program. Students who are interested in participating must register by June 16. Registered students must then submit an abstract on their proposed poster topic by Oct. 31. Abstracts must focus on study projects or student-based case histories related to contact lenses.

Abstracts will be judged in two categories: case study report and research. Five finalists will be selected and notified by Nov. 17. The finalists will then be required to convert their abstracts into scientific posters for further judging. Judges will then select the top three posters by Dec. 5, 2017.

The lead authors of the top three posters will be awarded travel grants of $1,500 each to attend the Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) and present their posters. The cost of their conference registration will be covered as well. Additionally, the two runners-up will receive honorable mention prizes of $250 each. The 2018 GSLS will be held Jan. 25 to 28 in Las Vegas.

For full contest rules and guidelines, visit ABBOptical.com/OptometryStudentChallenge .

DR. STEPHEN S. LANE JOINS ALCON

Alcon appointed Stephen S. Lane, MD, as chief medical officer (CMO) and global head Franchise Clinical Strategy. He joined the company on June 1.

In his new role, Dr. Lane will lead the integration of scientific, clinical, and commercial priorities across Alcon’s Surgical and Vision Care franchises, with a focus on the needs of patients and eyecare practitioners. Dr. Lane will also support the generation of Surgical and Vision Care clinical evidence and will represent Alcon to academic, scientific, and industry communities and to government agencies.

He is a founding partner of Associated Eye Care, past president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), serves on the editorial boards for several ophthalmic journals, is a distinguished lecturer, and has published numerous academic articles and book chapters. In addition, Dr. Lane is an adjunct professor of ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota, co-chair of the ASCRS Foundation, and a visiting faculty member of ORBIS International, an Alcon partner.

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QUIDEL ACQUIRES DIAGNOSTIC TESTING BUSINESSES FROM RPS DIAGNOSTICS

Quidel Corporation, a provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions, cellular-based virology assays, and molecular diagnostic systems, has completed the acquisition of the InflammaDry and AdenoPlus diagnostic businesses from RPS Diagnostics, a developer and manufacturer of rapid, point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests for the eye health and primary care markets, for approximately $14 million in cash.

The InflammaDry and Adeno-Plus products are rapid, lateral-flow based, POC products for the detection of infectious and inflammatory diseases and conditions of the eye. InflammaDry detects elevated levels of MMP-9, a key inflammatory marker for dry eye. AdenoPlus differentiates between a viral and bacterial infection of acute conjunctivitis (pink eye). Both products utilize innovative patented technology; are CE marked, FDA-cleared, and CLIA-waived; and complement Quidel’s existing rapid diagnostic testing solutions. Manufacturing for both products will be transferred to Quidel’s San Diego facility in the near term.

Quidel stated that the two product lines represent a growth opportunity in adjacent markets for Quidel and will help strengthen the company’s position in CLIA-waived diagnostic testing at the point-of-care. InflammaDry and AdenoPlus revenues will be reflected in Quidel’s Immunoassay revenue category.

AAOF ANNOUNCES THE 2017 WILLIAM C. EZELL FELLOWSHIPS

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) announced the 11 recipients for the 2017 William C. Ezell Fellowship program. The Ezell Fellowship program is named after the founding president of the AAOF, William C. Ezell, OD. It was established to provide talented post-doctoral students who are pursuing an advanced degree in optometric research and education with recognition and support. More than 300 Ezell Fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program in 1949.

The following students were selected as the 2017 - 2018 Ezell Fellows:

American Academy of Optometry Ezell Fellow
Maria K. Walker, OD, MS, University of Houston College of Optometry

American Academy of Optometry Foundation Karla Zadnik Ezell Fellow
Katherine M. Bickle, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

AAO Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies Ezell Fellow
Erin Rueff, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Baycross Christian Family Foundation Binocular Vision and Pediatrics Ezell Fellow
Ann Morrison, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Irvin M. Borish – Essilor Ezell Fellow
Ian Erkelens, OD, University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science

Mike Daley – Essilor Ezell Fellow
Suraj Upadhyaya, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry

Merton C. Flom Leadership Ezell Fellow
Phillip Thomas Yuhas, OD, MS, The Ohio State University College of Optometry

Michael G. Harris Ezell Fellow
Elise N. Harb, OD, MSc, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry

Optometric Glaucoma Society Ezell Fellow
Nevin W. El-Nimri, OD, MS, University of California Berkeley School of Optometry

John H. Schoen Ezell Fellow
Kevin Thomas Willeford, OD, MS, State University of New York College of Optometry

William C. Ezell Fellow sponsored by Vision Impact Institute
Kaitlyn Anne Sapoznik, OD, Indiana University School of Optometry

Funding for these fellowships is provided by leading optometric companies, private endowments, and other generous business organizations that represent most sectors of the industry. This year’s Ezell Fellows will be honored at the AAOF’s Annual Celebration Luncheon on Oct. 14, 2017 during the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting in Chicago.

PARAGON VISION SCIENCES EXPANDS PRACTICE MANAGEMENT TRAINING AND EDUCATION TEAM

Paragon Vision Sciences appointed Jon Hudson, ABOC, NCLEC, to the position of practice management consultant, responsible for assisting in the development and coordination of practice management training and education programs.

Prior to joining Paragon Vision Sciences, Mr. Hudson served as an optometric consultant to Maui Jim, Inc., while also providing optometric management counsel to multiple optometric practices within Arizona.

VISIONEERING TECHNOLOGIES EXPANDS U.S. SALES FORCE

Visioneering Technologies, Inc. has expanded its U.S. sales force. In line with the company’s plan to broaden and accelerate its U.S. launch of NaturalVue Multifocal contact lenses, it has appointed Joshua Suarez as new district sales manager for the western United States and added 10 new sales representatives across the country.

Mr. Suarez has more than 14 years of experience in senior sales roles in the healthcare and medtech industries in the United States. Most recently, he was the regional business manager at Voyce (i4C Innovations Inc.), where he built a new region and led sales and training for the start-up remote monitoring device company. Prior to this, he was the senior area business manager at Zoetis Inc.

The company also recently announced that Emily Weller has joined their sales organization as Market Manager (Inside Sales), Western US. Weller will be responsible for introducing the NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses and other NaturalVue Brand products to eyecare practitioners and practices across the western United States.

Weller has more than three years in the optical industry and has volunteered extensively with OneSight and the Lion’s Club to provide comprehensive eyecare assessments at no cost to underprivileged children, military veterans, and individuals in rehabilitation centers.

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

SynergEyes, Inc. announced the expansion of the Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) coating to UltraHealth hybrid contact lenses. The lubricous polymer coating developed by Tangible Science recently became available on SynergEyes’ Duette and Duette Progressive lenses.

Valley Contax announced that it recently received 510(k) clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Custom Stable line of scleral contact lenses indicated for the therapeutic management of several ocular conditions. The lenses were shown to effectively fit the eyes of patients who suffer from a multitude of ocular conditions, and they also achieved clearance for the management of dry eye syndrome. Indications include the management of conditions such as degenerations that lead to an irregular corneal shape, dystrophies, and corneal scarring. Indications also include post-surgery use. When prescribed for therapeutic use, the Custom Stable GP scleral lens is also indicated for correction of refractive error in persons who have myopia, hyperopia, or presbyopia. The clearance designates that eyecare practitioners may prescribe the lenses for frequent/planned replacement wear, assuming regular cleaning, disinfection, and scheduled replacement. When prescribed for frequent/planned replacement wear, the lens may be cleaned and disinfected using a chemical (not heat) lens care system.

Visionary Optics has signed an exclusive agreement with Spectrum International to distribute the Europa Scleral lens in the South America, Central America, and Caribbean markets. The Europa lens offers customizations such as presbyopia, toric haptics, bitoric, and notching.

Allergan plc was granted marketing authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for TrueTear Intranasal Tear Neurostimulator, an FDA-cleared device developed to temporarily increase tear production during neurostimulation in adult patients. TrueTear is a handheld stimulator with daily disposable tips that is inserted into the nasal cavity to induce the production of tears. The new advancement is an addition to Allergan’s current eyecare portfolio.

CheckedUp, a specialty point-of-care company, announced a nationwide partnership with TearScience to introduce the CheckedUp Engagement Platform to TearScience customers. The CheckedUp platform engages patients at each stage in the decision-making process and is proven to increase patients’ understanding of their disease and confidence in their treatment options, according to the company. Under the agreement, TearScience representatives will provide the CheckedUp Explorer waiting room package to its customers as the first component of the full CheckedUp Platform. The Explorer package includes a 43” flat panel TV, engaging full-motion HD video programming that is updated monthly, a customizable sidebar that rotates from practice information and marketing to patient questions, and lifetime system maintenance.

Shire has entered into a collaborative license agreement with Parion Sciences granting Shire exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize P-321, an investigational epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) inhibitor for the potential treatment of dry eye disease in adults. P-321 is a Phase 2 compound being developed to address tear volume deficiency and promote ocular surface healing. While specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, Shire will make an initial $20 million upfront license payment with an additional $20 million payment based on the achievement of a near-term development milestone. Parion will be entitled to receive additional potential milestone payments, with a total potential deal value of up to $535 million. Further, Parion has the option to co-fund through additional stages of development in exchange for enhanced tiered double-digit royalties. In addition, Parion has the option to co-fund commercialization activities and to participate in the financial outcome from those activities.

Supermax, a latex glove manufacturer in Malaysia, has begun distribution of its Aveo Vision brand of soft lenses. The daily disposable, biweekly, and monthly lenses are made by SuperVision Optimax Sdn Bhd (a 98%-owned subsidiary of Supermax International Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Supermax). Manufacturing currently takes place in Sungai Buloh, Malaysia. Through a growing worldwide distribution network, Supermax first exported its Aveo Vision lenses to Hong Kong in September 2016 and then to Brazil, South Korea, and Singapore in January, February, and April 2017, respectively. The company is launching Aveo Vision in Malaysia next month. Elsewhere, the group will be bringing the brand to the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Mexico later this year and to Japan in the first quarter of 2018.