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NEWS SPECTRUM

ABBVIE TO ACQUIRE ALLERGAN

AbbVie Inc. and Allergan plc announced that the companies have entered into a definitive transaction agreement under which Abb-Vie will acquire Allergan in a cash and stock transaction for a transaction equity value of approximately $63 billion, based on the closing price of AbbVie’s common stock of $78.45 on June 24, 2019.

According to the companies, the combined company will consist of several franchises with leadership positions across immunology, hematologic oncology, medical aesthetics, neuroscience, women’s health, eye care, and virology. Allergan’s product portfolio will be enhanced by AbbVie’s commercial strength, expertise, and international infrastructure, the companies said.

Under the terms of the Transaction Agreement, Allergan shareholders will receive 0.8660 AbbVie shares and $120.30 in cash for each Allergan share that they hold, for a total consideration of $188.24 per Allergan share.

Upon completion of the transaction, AbbVie will continue to be incorporated in Delaware as AbbVie Inc. and to have its principal executive offices in North Chicago, IL. AbbVie will continue to be led by Richard A. Gonzalez as chairman and CEO. Two members of Allergan’s Board, including Chairman and CEO Brent Saunders, will join AbbVie’s Board upon completion of the transaction.

The companies anticipate that the transaction will close in early 2020 and is dependent on certain regulatory and shareholder approvals. ■

COOPERVISION NAMES FORCE STUDENT OF THE YEAR

CooperVision has announced that Juliette Papin, a third-year student at the Institut Supérieur d’Optique in Nantes, France, is its 2019 Future Ocular Research Creativity Event (FORCE) Student of the Year. Her project evaluated how phoria measurements were affected in patients wearing CooperVision’s Biofinity Energys compared to Biofinity multifocal contact lenses. Ms. Papin wins a full delegate package, including travel and accommodation, to attend an international contact lens meeting and the opportunity to have her project presented or published.

Second place was awarded to Marianne Lindenberg and Cor Oosting-Klock from Hogeschool van Utrecht in the Netherlands for their research into the content and frequency of contact lens hygiene instruction given by eyecare professionals. In addition, Aniket Saha, from Bharati Vidyapeeth School of Optometry in Pune, India, was awarded third place. His project considered whether current contact lenses meet the corneal physiological needs of both men and women equally.

FORCE is an annual competition that aims to encourage students to develop their professional knowledge of contact lenses by competing against students from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Entrants are invited to present a project on a contact lens-related subject and are judged on the evidence for, and the importance of, the project. Winners from each country then go on to the FORCE final. ■

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INTERNATIONAL FORUM FOR SCLERAL LENS RESEARCH

Occurring just prior to the annual Global Specialty Lens Symposium in Las Vegas, the International Forum for Scleral Lens Research (IFSLR) will be held on the afternoon of Jan. 22, 2020. The program is supported by Bausch + Lomb and CooperVision Specialty Eye Care. IFSLR’s mission statement is “To advance the discipline of scleral contact lens prescribing through the coordinated efforts of evidenced-based research and clinical practice.”

According to IFSLR, topics of discussion will include whether scleral lenses provide sufficient oxygen, the latest findings and recommendations about the post-lens tear reservoir, and an update on scleral shape and how it affects scleral lens fitting and performance. Presenters will include Langis Michaud, Stephen Vincent, Jason Nichols, Lynette Johns, Greg DeNaeyer, Gonzalo Carracedo, Daddi Fadel, and more. ■

AAOF ANNOUNCES 2019 JOE AND JANET BARR EARLY CAREER CORNEA AND CONTACT LENS RESEARCH AWARD RECIPIENTS

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) announced the recipients of the Joe and Janet Barr Early Career Cornea and Contact Lens Research Award. The award is intended to provide a masters, doctorate, vision science, or physiological optics student attending a school or college of optometry seed funding for a research project in cornea/ocular surface or contact lenses.

In conjunction with the joint meeting of the American Academy of Optometry and the World Council of Optometry, two awards will be given this year to include students abroad. This year’s awardees are Pabita Dhungel and Rabia Mobeen. Both recipients will receive a $2,000 award and a $750 travel fellowship to attend Academy 2019 Orlando and 3rd World Congress of Optometry.

Parabita Dhungel is an MS/PhD Candidate at Pacific University College of Optometry. Her project is on the “Impact of Scleral Lens Wear on Intraocular Pressure and Posterior Ocular Perfusion.” Rabia Mobeen is a PhD Scholar at the University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Science. Her project is on the “Corneal Immune Response in Children, Adolescents, and Adult Contact Lens Wearers.” ■

X-CEL SPECIALTY CONTACTS DIVESTS DISPOSABLE LENS BUSINESS

X-Cel Specialty Contacts has divested Hydrogel Vision Corporation (HVC), the manufacturer of the Extreme H2O brand of contact lenses, to Clerio Vision. According to X-Cel, the move allows it to focus on the expansion of specialty lens designs, including the development of new designs and refinements to its industry leading portfolio.

All HVC employees will be retained, and its manufacturing and fulfillment activities will continue to be carried out in its locations in Sarasota, FL. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. ■

ABB OPTICAL TO COLLABORATE WITH REVOLUTIONEHR

ABB Optical Group and RevolutionEHR announced the integration of ABB Optical products with RevolutionEHR’s SmartFlow for Sight ordering technology, which automates the entire product ordering process for eyecare practitioners (ECPs) from order submission to delivery to their office or directly to their patients.

Using RevolutionEHR’s orders dashboard, customers receive automatic and real-time order status updates directly from their SmartFlow suppliers. Additionally, RevolutionEHR users can leverage the integrated contact lens catalog, provided by ABB Optical, for automatic parameter verification. ■

TUSCULUM UNIVERSITY TO SOON OFFER OD DEGREES

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has authorized Greenville, TN-based Tusculum University to add doctorates to its menu of available degrees. This clears the way for Tusculum to grant a Doctor of Optometry to those who will graduate from the Niswonger College of Optometry once that college receives required approvals.

As Tusculum pursued the level change, it also worked on securing the necessary approvals from the Accreditation Council of Optometric Education. The Niswonger College of Optometry is seeking accreditation from that organization and has completed the first step in that process. Tusculum projects that it will enroll the first class of 70 students in the four-year program in fall 2020, pending the receipt of preliminary approval for accreditation. ■

BCLA OFFERS MYOPIA MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATE

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) is offering a new certificate in myopia management that is due to launch later this year. The online course will feature six narrated lectures and will include the latest evidence-based research presented in an easily accessible format to allow the learning to be shared and adopted by practice staff, according to BCLA. The CET-accredited program is free for BCLA members. ■

OPTOMETRY STUDENTS HONORED WITH 2019 GP CLINICAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS

The Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA) and the GP Lens Institute (GPLI) bestowed the 2019 GP Clinical Excellence awards. The following 4th year optometry students were selected by the contact lens faculty at their respective schools for exemplary performance in GP contact lens fitting during the course of their education.

Along with an engraved plaque, the students received GP diagnostic/fitting sets that include materials supplied by Acuity Polymers Inc., Contamac Inc., InnoVision Inc., The LifeStyle Company Inc., Menicon America Inc., and Stellar Contact Lens Inc.

  • Amanda Gerson, OD, Illinois College of Optometry, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc.
  • Theodore Chow, OD, Indiana University School of Optometry, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc.
  • Jennifer Chan, OD, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, sponsored by TruForm Optics Inc.
  • Kellen Plomski, OD, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Optometry, sponsored by TruForm Optics Inc.
  • Justin Ullrey, OD, Michigan College of Optometry, Ferris State University, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc.
  • Nha Cao, OD, Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry, sponsored by Visionary Inc. (California)
  • Lauren Nicholas, OD, New England College of Optometry, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc.
  • Kathleen Nelson, NSU Oklahoma College of Optometry, sponsored by TruForm Optics Inc.
  • Joshua Walek, OD, Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, sponsored by Advanced Vision Technologies Inc. (AVT)
  • Ryan Rutschilling, OD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc.
  • Kennedy Antoniuk, OD, Pacific University College of Optometry, sponsored by Visionary Optics, LLC (Virginia)
  • Roxanne Chalifoux, OD, Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry, sponsored by Conforma Contact Lenses Inc.
  • Connie Minah Woo, OD, Southern California College of Optometry at Ketchum University, sponsored by Visionary Inc. (California)
  • Jacqueline Benoit, OD, State University of New York College of Optometry, sponsored by X-Cel Specialty Contacts Inc.
  • Charlotte Wang, OD, University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry, sponsored by ABB Optical Group
  • Alexandra Gada, OD, University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry, sponsored by X-Cel Specialty Contacts Inc.
  • Sadie Steinbeisser, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry, sponsored by Essilor Custom Contact Lens Specialists Inc.
  • Simon-Pier Falardeau, OD, Université de Montréal École d’Optométrie, sponsored by TruForm Optics Inc.
  • Nicole Malone, OD, University of Waterloo School of Optometry & Vision Science, sponsored by Art Optical Contact Lens Company Inc. ■

OCUSOFT INC. ACQUIRES EYELID WARMING DEVICE

OcuSoft Inc, in a joint venture with Essentia Pharma, a marketing and investment subsidiary of OcuSoft, has acquired the intellectual property portfolio of Digital Heat Corporation. The price was not disclosed.

The portfolio includes an eyelid warming device that will be marketed as the OcuSoft Thermal 1-Touch. It offers preset modes and temperature settings that can treat four eyelids simultaneously, which provides improved patient convenience for in-office procedures, according to the company. ■

PPP FOUNDED

Dr. David Hansen announced the founding and launch of Physician Partnered Products LLC. (PPP), with owner, founder and vision-medical director, Dr. Steve Ferguson. Dr. Hansen serves as the company’s CEO.

PPP creates strategic partnerships with eyecare practitioners and vision clinics that allow practitioners to acquire diagnostic and treatment technology for vision-medical services. Currently, PPP is working with Johnson & Johnson Vision (J&J). PPP purchases the LipiFlow system from J&J, which installs the system and trains the practice doctors and staff. PPP provides supplementary training and comprehensive guidance for dry eye treatment as well as ongoing education and support for billing, coding, record keeping, and marketing support. ■

NOVABAY PHARMACEUTICALS LAUNCHES AVENOVA DIRECT ON AMAZON.COM

NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced that Avenova Direct is available without a prescription on Amazon.com through the company’s new direct-to-consumer online channel. Avenova, a lid and lash spray, is designed for the removal of bacteria and debris on and around the eyelid margin that contribute to bacterial eye infections, according to NovaBay Pharmaceuticals.

The launch of NovaBay’s direct-to-consumer channel is supported by Avenova’s existing brand awareness campaign. In addition, the company is conducting a comprehensive online promotional strategy that includes search engine optimization, Google Ads, and Amazon promotions using searchable keywords; Facebook lead ads and social media marketing targeting influencers; and email campaigns focused on ophthalmologists, optometrists, and current and former Avenova patients. ■

PRACTICE PERFORMANCE TREND REPORT AVAILABLE FROM CARECREDIT

CareCredit has partnered with Glimpse, a division of ABB Optical Group, to produce a new Independent Optometry Key Performance Metrics Trend Report available for free for eyecare professionals.

Based on data derived from more than 500 independent optometric practices across the United States, the report details industry benchmarks including gross revenue, revenue per patient, total eyewear revenue, and other important information that providers can use to better evaluate their practice performance. ■

GSLS 2020 SPOTLIGHT: PAPERS & POSTERS

The Global Specialty Lens Symposium (GSLS) Program Committee invites the submission of abstracts for the presentation of Free Papers and Posters at GSLS 2020 to be held Jan. 22 to 25, 2020, in Las Vegas. The committee seeks topics including clinical case reports, case series, and clinical and basic research on all aspects of contact lenses (such as materials, designs, lens care) in addition to related topics such as corneal and ocular surface disease, diagnosis and treatment approaches, and practice management. The poster competition will be judged in two categories: Clinical and Research.

Abstract submissions will be accepted through Oct. 1, 2019 at 5pm Eastern Time. All entries must be submitted online at www.gslsymposium.com . ■

IDOC OFFERS ANALYTICS & REPORTING

IDOC will now offer unlimited access to business analytics and reporting as a complimentary benefit to members who have GPN Technologies-compatible practice management systems. IDOC will add a customized Report Card feature to the Insider benefit package, which will provide data-driven practice performance feedback in a dashboard format. ■

IN MEMORIAM: GEORGE MESZAROS

Beloved contact lens pioneer, leader, and advocate George Meszaros passed away on June 8. Born in Hungary, he arrived in the United States in 1949. He started as an optician and practiced for 10 years. For many years, he owned a contact lens laboratory. In 1982, he founded Polychem, Inc. and made the first ready-to-use contact lens polish for both polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and GP lenses. He also introduced—through Polychem—the first automated radiuscope to the United States and overseas.

Mr. Meszaros is best known for his work on behalf of the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association (CLMA). He became the youngest president in CLMA history in 1980. But his legacy is—and always will be—what transpired between 1978 and 1990. Contact lenses were all considered Class III medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For small independent GP laboratories, the expense to have a contact lens approved by the FDA was prohibitive. He took the lead, and through his persistence, GP lenses were ultimately reclassified as Type II medical devices.

For his efforts, no one has received more honors from the CLMA than George Meszaros has. His contributions can be best summarized by his friend and fellow past CLMA President and Joseph Dallos Award recipient, Carl Moore. “George was the most positive and enthusiastic contact lens advocate in the manufacturing industry. He was a great friend and my mentor for the CLMA.” ■

–contributed by Edward S. Bennett, OD, MSEd, clinical features editor for Contact Lens Spectrum

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Alcon added Sean Clark and Dr. Kristin Anderson to its executive team. Mr. Clark was recently appointed general manager of US Vision Care from his most recent role as head of the Vision Care Business Unit for Alcon Japan. Dr. Anderson joined Alcon in the newly-created role of director of Professional Education–US Vision Care and Dry Eye. In this new role, she will lead professional education, training strategy, and tactics for Vision Care and Dry Eye, including the Alcon Experience Academy. In her most recent role, Dr. Anderson was vice president for Institutional Advancement at Southern College of Optometry. 
  • NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc. appointed Justin Hall as president and CEO and Jason Raleigh as CFO. Mr. Hall has served as interim president and CEO since March 2019. He has been with NovaBay for six years in a variety of roles including as corporate counsel and has been actively involved in a number of operating functions including the sales organization and manufacturing. Mr. Raleigh has served as interim CFO also since March 2019. He has been with NovaBay for more than three years and has nearly 20 years of financial experience. 
  • Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals Inc. has appointed Wendy DiCicco, CPA, to the company’s board of directors and Audit Committee, where she will serve as chair of the committee. Most recently, Ms. DiCicco was chief operating and financial officer of Centinel Spine. She currently serves on the board of directors of Carmell Therapeutics and is a financial, executive, and board advisory consultant for several emerging growth companies.
  • The Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) has published “five minute overviews” of each International Myopia Institute (IMI) paper ahead of the official release. CORE has also created a downloadable set of practical tips on how to implement the clinical management guidelines in practice. These and additional myopia management insights can be accessed for free at https://contactlensupdate.com/category/issues/myopia-matters .
  • X-Cel Specialty Contacts is now manufacturing scleral contact lenses and corneal GP lenses in the new Optimum Infinite hyper-Dk GP lens material. This material, launched early this year from Contamac, is stable, wettable, scratch-resistant, and easy to handle by both practitioners and patients, according to the company. Optimum Infinite has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a full range of indications, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and aphakia.
  • ABB Optical Group’s Specialty Lens Lab has been approved by Paragon Vision Sciences to offer Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) surface coating technology in its manufacturing of Paragon’s HDS and Fluoroperm GP lenses. ABB Optical Group also welcomed Mike Austin as the company’s new director of Strategic Partnerships. In his new position, he will be instrumental in identifying, developing, and maximizing the relationships between ABB Optical and leading organizations in the optical industry.
  • The Foundation Fighting Blindness has appointed Judy Taylor as vice president, development. In her new role, she will be responsible and accountable for the strategic direction, planning, and oversight of major gifts and planned giving function for the Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the chief advancement officer for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC).
  • NuSight Medical announced that the U.S. Patent Office issued Patent No. 10,314,763 directed to methods related to the treatment of dry eye disease. The patent covers the use of the NuLids System for the treatment of dry eye/ocular surface disease, blepharitis, and related conditions.
  • Blanchard Contact Lenses announced that Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) is now available with Boston XO and Boston XO2 from Boston Materials (Bausch + Lomb). Boston XO and Boston XO2 are also U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared for the treatment of multiple ocular diseases, including dry eye.
  • Paul A. Sieving, MD, PhD, director of National Eye Institute (NEI), will retire from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on July 29, 2019. He will be launching and directing a new Center for Ocular Regenerative Therapy at the University of California, Davis. While the NEI conducts a national search for a new director, Santa Tumminia, PhD, will serve as the acting director. Currently, Dr. Tumminia serves as the NEI Deputy Director.
  • Nicox SA has received a $3 million milestone payment from partner Eyevance Pharmaceuticals. Nicox and Eyevance entered into a licensing agreement for Zerviate in the United States in Sept. 2017. Zerviate is also licensed to Ocumension Therapeutics for the Chinese market, and Nicox currently retains rights for all other territories outside of the United States and China.