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NEWS SPECTRUM

ABB OPTICAL OFFERS HYDRA-PEG COATING WITH CONTAMAC MATERIALS

ABB Optical Group announced that its specialty lens lab has been approved by Contamac to manufacture GP lenses in the Optimum line of GP materials with Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science)-surfaced coating technology. Hydra-PEG is only available for lenses manufactured in Contamac materials. All of ABB Optical's custom-manufactured GP lenses are backed by a 90-day guaranteed fit program for spherical lenses and a 120-day guaranteed fit program for specialty lens designs. ■

TAKEDA COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF SHIRE PLC

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced the completion of its acquisition of Shire plc. The acquisition was originally announced in May 2018.

The combined annual revenue of the company exceeds $30 billion. Takeda’s R&D efforts are focused on its four therapeutic areas of oncology, gastroenterology, neuroscience, and rare diseases, with targeted R&D investment also committed to plasma-derived therapies and vaccines.

To fund the acquisition, Takeda has secured permanent financing with highly competitive rates, resulting in an overall blended interest rate for Takeda's total debt of approximately 2.3%. ■

ART OPTICAL INTRODUCES SPARE LENS DISCOUNT PROGRAM

Art Optical introduced a spare lens purchasing program for Ampleye scleral lenses. With the spare lens program, practitioners prescribing Ampleye lenses are eligible to purchase duplicate-parameter lenses at a 25% savings within 45 days of their patients’ final Rx order. The savings may be passed on to the patient, in part or in full, to help defray the cost of maintaining a backup pair of Ampleye lenses.

According to the company, the Ampleye spare purchasing option helps eye-care practitioners and patients avoid the panic of emergency rush orders, and it ensures that patients are not without their necessary devices in the event of accidental lens loss or damage. ■

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COOPERVISION ACQUIRES BLANCHARD CONTACT LENSES

CooperVision has acquired Blanchard Contact Lenses, Inc. Founded in 1986, Blanchard has operations in Sherbrooke, Canada and in Manchester, NH and employs approximately 70 people. As with CooperVision’s other specialty businesses, it will retain its name and will continue to operate as a separate yet complementary organization. Customers should continue to work with their current representatives. The acquisition includes Blanchard’s U.S. and Canadian entities. ■

IACLE CELEBRATES 40 YEARS

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) will mark its 40th year with anniversary events in the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Colombia, and the United States during 2019. Celebrations will be held at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference & Exhibition in Manchester (May 30 to Jun. 1), the Asia Pacific Optometric Congress in Manila (Jun. 17 to 20), the FEDOPTO (Colombian Federation of Optometrists) Congress in Bogotá (Aug. 8 to 10), and at the joint Academy 2019 and 3rd World Congress of Optometry in Orlando, FL (Oct. 23 to 28). More details of IACLE’s 40th anniversary celebrations—including special events, presentations, awards, and interactive exhibits—will be available throughout 2019. ■ 

ESSILOR OF AMERICA INTRODUCES MYOPIA TASKFORCE

At its national sales meeting, Essilor of America announced the creation of a Myopia Taskforce. Members of the taskforce include Drs. Thomas Aller, David Anderson, Craign Brawley, Mark Bullimore, Alan Glazier, John Larh, Maria Liu, Pamela Lowe, Moshe Mendelson, Pamela Miller, Yi Pang, Earl Smith, Long Tran, and David Troilo.

The formation of the Myopia Taskforce is part of Essilor’s Myopia Initiative in Action (MIA), a program that Essilor says will be available to the optical industry later this year. It follows an awareness campaign launched by Essilor in 2018 that focused on myopia, particularly among children. ■

INNOVEGA PATENT ALLOWANCES, RON WALKER JOINS COMPANY

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance to complement the 12 patents already issued to Innovega Inc. The recently allowed patent, titled “Contact Lens and Method and Systems for Constructing a Contact Lens,” claims the ability to supply the required oxygen to the cornea when the lens contains components that are not oxygen permeable.

Innovega is currently conducting a round of financing with New York-based SeedInvest for the purpose of completing its Phase III U.S. Food and Drug Administration clinical investigations for the iOptik and eMacula contact lenses.

The family of Innovega patents claims systems and methods for coupling eye-borne optics with display eyewear in pursuit of two goals: eliminating the need to wear a heavy, cumbersome apparatus; and delivering a panoramic field of view rather than the narrow field that’s inherent with conventional waveguided optics. Innovega’s latest patent allowance adds to one allowed in mid-2018 that claimed methods for regulating water vapor transmissibility while maintaining oxygen transmissibility in ultra-high-oxygen-permeable lens materials. Both patents were filed by inventors and scientists Jerome Legerton, William Meyers, and Jay Marsh.

In unrelated news, Innovega Inc. announced the addition of longtime eyecare publisher Ron Walker to its team.

In 1999, Mr. Walker co-founded AllAboutVision.com, a website educating consumers about eye health and vision correction, and served as its publisher for 18 years. From 1985 to 1992, he was publisher of Contact Lens Spectrum and a partner in Viscom Publications, which also published Eyecare Business. In 1997, Mr. Walker co-founded Contact Lenses Today in partnership with Dr. Joseph Barr and Contact Lens Spectrum. He began his career in 1977 with an advertising and PR firm specializing in retail optical, and he also held editorial and sales positions with Optometric Management, Ophthalmology Management, and Contact Lens Forum magazines.

Mr. Walker serves on the U.S. Advisory Committee of Optometry Giving Sight and assists the Contact Lens Manufacturers Association with various online educational efforts. ■

COOPERVISION EXPANDS MYOPIA MANAGEMENT TEAM

CooperVision's Specialty EyeCare Division has named two eyecare industry veterans to newly established professional services roles.

Elizabeth Lumb, BSc(Hons), MCOptom, has been appointed as head of Professional Services, MiSight 1 day, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and global brand manager for the lens. She joined the organization in 2013, serving as Professional Services training manager for Europe.

Chi Shing Fan, PD Optom, PhD, has been appointed as Professional Service and Commercial lead, MiSight & Specialty Business, Asia Pacific. He joined CooperVision in 2009, serving as Professional Services director, Asia Pacific and as the region’s Frequent Replacement Category lead.

The company has also recently appointed MiSight Professional Services leads for the United Kingdom, France, and Iberia. It intends to staff similar roles in Germany-Austria-Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore. ■

ATD ANNOUNCES ADVISORY BOARD APPOINTMENT

Advanced Tear Diagnostics (ATD) appointed Jeffrey Anshel, OD, to its advisory board. Dr. Anshel is the founder and past-president of the Ocular Nutrition Society and will work with the company on the release of its new tear diagnostic system. ■

INDUSTRY BRIEFS

  • Alcon, a division of Novartis, announced that it has acquired Tear Film Innovations, Inc. (Tear Film), a privately held company and manufacturer of the iLux handheld device used to treat meibomian gland dysfunction. The iLux Device is an in-office treatment that warms the eyelids via disposable silicone pads through the application of light-based heating. While using the iLux Device, practitioners can view the eyelid margin and apply manually controlled compression to express blockages. The iLux Device received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2017 and was officially launched by Tear Film in May 2018. 
  • Registration is now open for the 2019 British Contact Lens Association’s (BCLA) Clinical Conference and Exhibition, which is scheduled for May 30 to Jun. 1. Highlights of the three-day program include keynote speakers Professor Lyndon Jones from the University of Waterloo in Canada, who is the 2019 Medal recipient, and Dr. Nicole Carnt, who will present the Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture. Alcon and CooperVision are Partner Sponsors for the event, while Johnson & Johnson Visioncare is a Platinum Sponsor, Menicon is a Gold Sponsor, and Topcon is the Technology Sponsor. For more information or to register, visit www.bcla.org.uk . Early bird pricing closes on Mar. 31.
  • Kala Pharmaceuticals announced the launch of Inveltys (loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension) 1%, a twice-daily ocular corticosteroid indicated for the treatment of postoperative inflammation and pain following ocular surgery. Kala also announced the hiring of a specialty ophthalmology sales organization. Inveltys, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Aug. 2018, is now in national and regional U.S. pharmaceutical distribution centers, and patients have access to Inveltys through their local retail pharmacies.
  • The American Academy of Optometry (AAO), the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) announced that a joint agreement has been reached to restructure the governance of the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE). The newly established COPE Governing Committee will be comprised of representatives from ARBO, ASCO, and the AAO to assure collaboration and the ongoing advancement of the quality of optometric continuing education. Duties of the governing committee will include setting standards, policies, and procedures for the COPE accreditation program, making accreditation determinations based on compliance with COPE accreditation criteria and policies, and preparing and presenting an annual report to the ARBO House of Delegates and the boards of directors of the participating organizations. 
  • Nicox SA announced that its partner (Bausch + Lomb) has received approval in Canada of Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution), 0.024%. Vyzulta is indicated for the reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients who have open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.
  • iChek announced the addition of Steve Martin to its advisory board. Mr. Martin is a nationally recognized and accomplished executive and entrepreneur with more than 30 years of experience in the optical and medical device industry. He is the founder of Ciba Vision Optics, now part of Alcon and Ciba Vision Ophthalmics, now part of Novartis. 
  • Harrow Health, Inc. (formerly known as Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) announced that it has formally changed its name. Harrow Health’s businesses and subsidiaries each have strong brand equity and will continue to operate under the Harrow Health corporate umbrella using their existing names. This includes Harrow Health’s wholly-owned subsidiaries ImprimisRx, an ophthalmology pharmaceutical compounding business, and Park Compounding. Harrow Health’s equity interests and royalty-rights in Eton Pharmaceuticals, Surface Pharmaceuticals, Melt Pharmaceuticals, Mayfield Pharmaceuticals, and Radley Pharmaceuticals remain in Harrow Health as well.
  • Atlantic Street Capital announced that it will form Advancing Eyecare Holdings with the partnership of Lombart Instrument and Marco Ophthalmic Inc. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019. Upon completion of the transaction, David Marco will join Advancing Eyecare as co-chairman of the newly-formed company. Bryan Bevin, senior operating advisor to Atlantic Street Capital's portfolio companies, will serve as co-chairman of the Advancing Eyecare Board.