NOVARTIS TO SPIN OFF ALCON EYECARE DEVICES BUSINESS
Novartis announced its intention to spin off Alcon, its eyecare division, into a separately traded standalone company. Completion of the transaction is subject to general market conditions, tax rulings and opinions, final board of directors endorsement, and shareholder approval at the 2019 Annual General Meeting in line with Swiss corporate law. In the event that all approvals are secured, the planned spinoff is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019.
When Novartis acquired Alcon in 2011, the business included surgical, vision care, and ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. In Jan. 2016, Novartis transferred Alcon’s ophthalmic pharmaceuticals to the Novartis Innovative Medicines Division, and it will continue to develop as part of Novartis. The Alcon Division is currently fully focused on surgical and vision care.
Mike Ball became chairman-designate of Alcon, effective Jul. 1, 2018, reporting to Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. Mr. Ball will focus on preparing Alcon for the intended spinoff. In addition, he will start the process of recruiting a board of directors for Alcon and meeting Novartis shareholders and other potential investors in preparation for a potential spinoff. If Alcon becomes an independent company, Mr. Ball would become chairman of the Alcon board of directors. To focus fully on the Alcon separation, Mr. Ball stepped down from the executive committee of Novartis (ECN) on Jul. 1, 2018.
David Endicott, COO of Alcon, was promoted to CEO of Alcon, also effective Jul. 1, 2018. He will also report to Dr. Narasimhan until the potential spinoff. Over the coming weeks, Mr. Ball will hand over operational management responsibilities to Mr. Endicott.
If the Alcon spinoff is completed, it would create a new Switzerland-based company with more than 20,000 employees. Fort Worth, Texas will continue to be a key location for Alcon. In addition to being incorporated in Switzerland, the intention would be to list shares of Alcon on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. ■
IN MEMORIAM: TIMOTHY O. KOCH, COT
Industry veteran Timothy O. Koch, COT, recently passed away after a brief illness. Beginning his career as an optician and contact lens fitter, he also developed into an administrator in major ophthalmology centers in Minnesota and California.
Over the past 25 years, he held numerous positions in the contact lens field working with companies as they developed and brought to market GP materials, corneal refractive therapy (CRT) and orthokeratology designs, and custom soft and hybrid lenses. From the podium, he was noted as a well-sought-after humorous and entertaining speaker.
While small in stature, Tim had the biggest of personalities and touched all whom he encountered. He will be missed. ■
–Contributed by Craig Norman
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
The goal of Contact Lens Spectrum is to provide you with timely and thought-provoking articles that will help you become a more successful contact lens practitioner. Please let us know how we’re doing! E-mail CLSpectrum@pentavisionmedia.com with your comments or article submissions.
GSLS ACCEPTING FREE PAPER AND POSTER SUBMISSIONS
The Global Specialty Lens Symposium is accepting free paper and poster submissions. Topics should include aspects of contact lenses (such as materials, designs, lens care) as well as related topics such as corneal and ocular surface disease, diagnosis and treatment approaches, and practice management. Posters will be judged in two categories: Clinical and Research.
Abstracts for free papers and posters will be accepted until Aug. 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST and must be submitted online at www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/gsls19/submit . ■
DR. MILLICENT KNIGHT TO JOIN ESSILOR OF AMERICA
Essilor of America has announced that Millicent Knight, OD, will be joining the company this summer as senior vice president, customer development group and member of the leadership team, reporting to Rick Gadd, incoming president, Essilor of America. In this role, Dr. Knight will be responsible for Essilor of America’s professional relations, communications, and eyecare professional and sales training efforts.
Prior to Essilor, she was vice president of professional affairs, North America at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. While there, she served on the North American leadership team. Dr. Knight has also consulted for eyecare and health and wellness companies, conducted contact lens and solutions office clinical trials, and lectured on a wide variety of topics including contact lenses, leadership, cultural sensitivity, eye and systemic health, and business and entrepreneurship. ■
SYNERGEYES AND BHVI JOIN FORCES FOR SPECIALTY CONTACT LENS DEVELOPMENT
SynergEyes announced a new partnership with the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) to deliver advanced, customized vision correction for myopes and presbyopes. The exclusive worldwide licensing agreement will enable the manufacturing of design technologies developed by Brien Holden Vision Institute, augmenting the SynergEyes presbyopic package by offering the latest designs on the hybrid contact lens platform.
BHVI has developed new optical designs that incorporate an extended depth of focus (EDOF) that provide a series of smooth, non-monotonic power variations across the optic zone to deliberately manipulate multiple higher-order aberrations.
The idea is to achieve an extension in depth of focus that would facilitate a balanced visual performance designed to satisfy presbyopes who have low-, medium-, and high-add requirements. ■
5TH ANNUAL CONTACT LENS HEALTH WEEK
Aug. 20 to 24, 2018 marks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 5th annual Contact Lens Health Week. The theme for this year is “healthy habits means healthy eyes.”
To support practitioners’ efforts to promote contact lens health week, the CDC is offering a free toolkit that contains promotional items intended to be customized to best meet eyecare practitioners’ needs for their practices and the general eyecare community.
In addition, the CDC will host a Facebook Live chat featuring CDC’s Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Cope, which will be held at 2:00 p.m. EDT on Aug. 20. Partners are welcome to participate during the live chat by promoting it in advance or contributing comments and questions once it goes live. ■
BLANCHARD ONEFIT LENSES CLEARED FOR TREATING DRY EYE
Blanchard Contact Lenses’ Onefit family of scleral lenses now has 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for therapeutic applications—including treatment of dry eye—when manufactured in Contamac’s Optimum Extra, Optimum Extreme, and Hexa 100 materials. Contamac announced the 510(k) clearance in early June.
In unrelated news, Blanchard announced that its Beyond the Limbus Scleral Lens Workshops will be coming to Philadelphia on Sept. 23 and to Manchester, NH on Oct. 7. These one-day workshops provide comprehensive hands-on training to eyecare professionals interested in learning how to fit Blanchard’s Onefit family of scleral lenses. Register at blanchardlab.com/blanchard-u/beyond-the-limbus , by calling (800) 367-4009, or by contacting your respective Blanchard sales representative. ■
MYOPIA PROFILE WEBSITE UPDATED
Drs. Kate and Paul Gifford have updated the Myopia Profile website, which includes five learning portals covering topics such as contact lens safety in kids, why binocular vision matters in myopia, understanding efficacy, and clinical decision-making trees. Podcasts and news are also available. Visit www.myopiaprofile.com . ■
SYNERGEYES APPOINTS BOB FERRIGNO CEO
The SynergEyes, Inc. board of directors appointed Bob Ferrigno as CEO, effective June 27, 2018. Ferrigno joined SynergEyes in 2015 and has led the sales and marketing efforts in expanding the company from a hybrid contact lens company to a specialty contact lens company.
Prior to joining SynergEyes, he served as the president of North America for CooperVision. Before that, he held executive and general management positions with Becton Dickinson, a global medical technology company, for 32 years, managing key areas including sales, marketing, international operations, and global research and development.
Ferrigno is succeeding James Kirchner, OD, who will assume the role of president emeritus. Dr. Kirchner will continue to develop and foster relationships within the U.S. eyecare community, be involved in new product development, and advocate for SynergEyes contact lenses in the areas of myopia management, presbyopia, and other eye conditions. ■
AOCLE HOLDS ANNUAL WORKSHOP
The Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) held its annual workshop at University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio in early June. More than 50 educators and 28 industry representatives attended the meeting, which featured a theme of “Look, Learn, Teach.” Topics included interprofessional education for optometrists, test writing, and ways to communicate more effectively.
In addition, new officers were elected: Dr. Katie Clore, chair; Dr. Julie DeKinder, vice chair; Dr. Beth Kinoshita, secretary; Dr. Latricia Pack, treasurer; and Dr. Susan Kovacich, immediate past chair.
The George Mertz New Educator Travel Award was presented to Dr. Nekima Williams from Rosenberg School of Optometry, and the inaugural Dr. Harue J. Marsden New Educator Travel Award was presented to Dr. Kate A. McClure from The Ohio State University College of Optometry. These awards provide travel funds to the AOCLE workshop to young educators who are making an impact in contact lens education at their respective institutions. Dr. Bruce W. Morgan, from Michigan College of Optometry, received the Lester E. Janoff Memorial Award, which is given to an optometric educator who has demonstrated excellence in contact lens education, research, and publications and who has been active in the AOCLE. ■
MYOPIA AWARENESS COALITION HOLDS INAUGURAL EVENT
On June 19, a group of 33 eyecare industry leaders met in Denver to discuss how to raise public awareness of the eye health risks associated with childhood myopia. Named the “Myopia Awareness Coalition,” attendees represented manufacturers, retailers, insurers, equipment manufacturers, eyecare practitioners, researchers, and a consumer advocate. Coalition members universally agreed on the importance of partnering with existing organizations to coordinate efforts to educate the public on myopia and to secure resources for further research into this critical area. A key insight from the group was that the industry currently has no singular, easy-to-understand message from these various organizations about the importance of identifying and treating myopia. Groups worked through the top ideas to think through how they could be executed, what resources would be required, and specific next steps needed to move toward successful implementation. ■
CORE ENHANCES CONTACT LENS MANAGEMENT GUIDE
Hosted by the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and supported by an independent medical education grant from Alcon, the Clinical Contact Lens Management Guide (ContactLensManagement.com ) is a free, fully searchable database. Each entry is also cross-referenced by contact lens, signs, symptoms, and biomicroscope categories. Each item presents a detailed description of the condition and its signs, symptoms, prevalence, differential diagnosis, and management along with photos and videos to aid in diagnosis and resolution. Later this year, CORE will update sections on Demodex along with incorporation of information from the recent Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society Dry Eye Workshop II dry eye report. ■
OPTOMETRY STUDENTS HONORED WITH 2018 GP CLINICAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS
The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) and the GP Lens Institute (GPLI) bestowed the 2018 GP Clinical Excellence awards to fourth-year optometry students who showed exemplary performance in GP contact lens fitting during the course of their education.
Sponsored by ABB Optical Group: Michelle Chan, OD, Southern College of Optometry; Sarah Whiteside, OD, UC Berkeley College of Optometry; Vicky Yiannoulis, OD, New England College of Optometry; Katherine Zhang, OD, Southern California College of Optometry, Ketchum University
Sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company: Michael Gorz, OD, Illinois College of Optometry; Alexandria Lui, OD, Indiana University; Avi David Yehudai, OD, SUNY College of Optometry; Evelyn Yue Tong Zhang, OD, University of Waterloo; Tina Zhu, OD, Pacific University
Sponsored by Essilor USA Contact Lenses Inc.: Shannon Deitch, OD, University of Houston; Allie McKelvey, OD, UAB School of Optometry
Sponsored by Blanchard Contact Lenses, Inc.: Viviana Baron, OD, University of Montreal
Sponsored by Lancaster Contact Lens, Inc.: Samantha Elizabeth Myers, OD, Salus University, Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Sponsored by TruForm Optics Inc.: Taylor Dahms, OD, UMSL College of Optometry; Alia Khalaf, OD, MCPHS University School of Optometry; Stephanie Uchida, OD, NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry
Sponsored by Visionary Optics LLC: Brett Christensen, OD, Midwestern University – Arizona; Ashley Noble, OD, NOVA Southeastern University; Kimberly Weisenberger, OD, The Ohio State University ■
ABB OPTICAL GROUP, PARAGON VISION SCIENCES ANNOUNCE OPTOMETRY STUDENT CHALLENGE
ABB Optical Group, in partnership with Paragon Vision Sciences, is accepting abstracts for its 2018-2019 Optometry Student Challenge. The Optometry Student Challenge will award travel grants of $1,500 each to three third- or fourth-year students to attend the 2019 Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS; being held Jan. 24 to 27, 2019 in Las Vegas) and present a scientific poster on a topic related to contact lenses. Conference registration costs will be covered for the three winners as well.
Third- and fourth-year students who are interested in participating must register by July 31. Registered students must then submit an abstract on their proposed poster topic by Oct. 15. Abstracts must focus on study projects or student-based case histories related to contact lenses. Topics can include, but are not limited to, contact lens applications for presbyopia, keratoconus, corneal topography, post-penetrating keratoplasty or related irregular corneal surface, myopia control, lens care/solutions, and orthokeratology. Abstracts will be judged in two categories: case study report and research. Five finalists will be selected and notified by Oct. 31.
The finalists will then be required to convert their abstracts into scientific posters for further judging. The posters must be submitted in digital, PDF format to ABB Optical Group no later than Nov. 21. Judges will then select the top three posters by Dec. 1.
The lead authors of the top three posters will be awarded travel grants of $1,500 each to attend GSLS and present their posters. Additionally, the two runners-up will receive honorable mention prizes of $250 each. ■
FOR THE RECORD
CORRECTED CONTACT LENSES & SOLUTIONS SUMMARY NOW ONLINE
The print edition of the 2018 Contact Lenses & Solutions Summary, which published with the July issue of Contact Lens Spectrum, unintentionally omitted updates for the SynergEyes product listings. The contact information for Custom Color Contacts was also corrected. An updated PDF for download is available at www.clspectrum.com/class .
CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
The article “The 1-2-3s of Building a Dry Eye Center of Excellence” by Jillian F. Ziemanski, OD, MS, from the July issue was missing the photo credit for Figure 3: Courtesy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The online version of the article has been corrected.
- Bausch + Lomb (B+L) has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with Tangible Science, LLC, in which B+L’s Specialty Vision Products business will offer the Tangible Science Hydra-PEG contact lens coating technology for use with its Boston XO, Boston XO2, Boston EO, and Boston ES materials, along with the Zenlens and Zen RC scleral lenses, by the end of 2018.
- Visioneering Technologies, Inc. has added OOGP, a distributor of optical products in the United States, as the company’s latest Authorized Distributor partner for the NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Brand 1-Day Contact Lenses.
- Oyster Point Pharma, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s Investigational New Drug application to proceed with clinical development of OC-01, which comes from a class of drugs called nAChR agonists that are known to affect the parasympathetic nervous system. OC-01 and OC-02 are being developed in a nasal spray to deliver them directly to the trigeminal nerve, which is accessible within the nose.
- EyePromise announced that macular pigment optical density measurement by heterochromatic flicker photometry has earned a Category III CPT code from the American Medical Association. While this code does not receive paid reimbursement, it is used for data collection and tracking for products or services involved in planned or ongoing research. The code is effective for dates of service on or after July 1, 2018.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted Bausch + Lomb’s New Drug Application for its sub-micron loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic gel, 0.38% with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act action date of Feb. 25, 2019. The product is a concentrated loteprednol ophthalmic corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and pain following ocular surgery.