GLAUKOS AND AVEDRO ANNOUNCE DEFINITIVE ACQUISITION AGREEMENT
Glaukos Corporation and Avedro Inc. announced that the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Glaukos will acquire Avedro in an all-stock transaction. The transaction, which is subject to Avedro stockholder approval along with other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.
According to the companies, Glaukos plans to leverage its proven market-building expertise, global commercial scale and extensive clinical and regulatory infrastructure to maximize Avedro’s disruptive bio-activated pharmaceuticals and pipeline. The companies also say that the transaction will expand Glaukos’ R&D capabilities and is expected to strengthen multiple corneal health and vision correction development initiatives now underway across both organizations.
Perella Weinberg Partners LP is serving as financial advisor to Glaukos, and O’Melveny & Myers LLP is serving as its legal advisor. Guggenheim Securities is serving as financial advisor to Avedro, and Cooley LLP is serving as its legal advisor.
In unrelated news, Glaukos has entered into a licensing agreement with Intratus Inc. under which Intratus has granted Glaukos a global exclusive license to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize Intratus’ patented, non-invasive drug delivery platform designed for use in the treatment of dry eye disease, glaucoma, and other corneal disorders, such as allergy, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and related conditions. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Intratus’ cream-based drug formulations are applied to the outer surface of the eyelid for transdermal delivery of pharmaceutically active compounds for the treatment of eye disorders. ■
THE CONTACT LENS MUSEUM OPENS
The Contact Lens Museum opened to the public on July 30, 2019. Conceived by Patrick J. Caroline, Jiah Pack, and Craig Norman—longtime collectors of contact lens artifacts, instruments, and publications—they welcomed visitors from near and far with free general admission to the new facility, located in Forest Grove, OR.
Established in 2019 to preserve, protect, and educate eyecare practitioners, researchers, historians, and the public about these optical devices and objects, The Contact Lens Museum has more than 2,000 historical items documenting the history of this field over the past 100+ years. The new museum features a chronological selection of the evolution of contact lenses from early glass and plastic scleral lenses, the discovery of corneal designs, original soft lenses from Czechoslovakia, and GP designs through the recent rebirth of scleral lenses. Mr. Caroline also noted that the museum will travel to at least four major contact lens meetings and education institutions in 2020.
The Contact Lens Museum is located at 2309 Pacific Ave, Forest Grove, OR 97116. It is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday by appointment only. ■
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PATIENT-FOCUSED EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF TFOS DEWS II REPORT ANNOUNCED
In recognition of Dry Eye Awareness Month, the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) announced the availability of a patient-focused Executive Summary of the TFOS Dry Eye WorkShop (DEWS) II Report. Creation of this document was prompted by the recognition that it is very important for patients to have access to, and to be able to rely on, accurate, relevant, and comprehensive information about dry eye disease. The patient version of the TFOS DEWS II Executive Summary is available at: https://www.tearfilm.org/dettnews-tfos_dews_ii_patient_summary/6814_5519/eng. ■
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY ANNOUNCES 2019 AWARD RECIPIENTS
The American Academy of Optometry has announced the following 2019 award recipients.
- Raymond A. Applegate, OD, PhD, Charles F. Prentice Medal and Lecture Award
- Susan A. Cotter, OD, MS, Glenn A. Fry Award and Lecture (American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)
- Uduak C. Udom, OD, MPH, (posthumously), AAO-Essilor Award for Outstanding International Contributions to Optometry
- Thomas R. Stelmack, OD, William Feinbloom Award
- J. Daniel Twelker, OD, PhD, Brien Holden Humanitarian Award
- Andrew D. Pucker, OD, PhD, Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award
- Rami Aboumourad, OD, Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics (American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)
- Thomas G. Quinn, OD, MS, Vincent Ellerbrock Clinician Educator Award
- Thomas A. Aller, OD; Maria Liu, OD, PhD; and Christine F. Wildsoet, DipAppSci(Optom), PhD, Garland W. Clay Award
- Heather A. Anderson, OD, PhD, and Donald O. Mutti, OD, PhD, Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education (American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)
Awards of the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies
- Philip B. Morgan, PhD, MCOptom, Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award
- S. Barry Eiden, OD, Founders’ Award
Awards of the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section
- Robert N. Kleinstein, OD, PhD, Henry B. Peters Award for Public Health and Environmental Vision (American Academy of Optometry Foundation Award)
Award winners will be recognized at the Joint American Academy of Optometry and World Council of Optometry Recognition Gala and Awards Program on Oct. 26. The Fry and Prentice Lectures will be held on Oct. 25 and will feature lectures from both the Charles F. Prentice Award recipient and the Glenn A. Fry Award recipient. The Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies award recipients will be honored on Oct. 23. The Public Health and Environmental Vision Section Henry B. Peters awardee will be honored on Oct. 24. ■
BCLA TO HOST WEBINAR ON MYOPIA MANAGEMENT
The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) will be hosting a webinar that will look at factors preventing eyecare practitioners from fully engaging with myopia management while examining real-world experiences to look at ways that myopia management can be integrated into everyday clinical practice. The webinar, titled “Myopia Management: Incentives and Impediments,” will be presented by Dr. Manbir Nagra and Gillian Bruce at 6:30 p.m. (BST) on Oct. 7.
Dr. Nagra works as a Reader in Optometry at the University of Portsmouth and continues to provide consultancy within the optical sector. She is also current chair of British and Irish University and College Contact Lens Educators (BUCCLE). Ms. Bruce is the clinical lead optometrist at Cameron Optometry in Edinburgh, providing the hospital contact lens service for the Lothian region. She developed the myopia management service for the practice in 2015 and continues to oversee its growth. ■
SAMSUNG AWARDED PATENT
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Samsung for augmented reality contact lenses, which are specialized contact lenses with a built-in hidden camera. Samsung notes that an external device such as a smartphone may include a program interacting with the smart contact lens. ■
IN MEMORIAM: JUDY PERRIGIN, OD
Judy Perrigin, OD, professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO), passed away suddenly on July 1, 2019. Typical of her incredible work ethic, she was at work when she collapsed, and best medical efforts were unable to help her. She is survived by her husband Dave Perrigin, OD.
Her students describe her as the “kindest professor” and “a profound influence.” Judy believed in excellence in every area in which she was involved, including clinical education and patient care. Her areas of teaching and research included contact lenses, medical laboratory testing, ocular microbiology, and management of myopia. Additionally, she was in private practice and was an investigator with the Texas Eye Research and Technology Center at UHCO. She also touched the lives of many residents as the program director for UHCO’s Cornea and Contact Lens Residency. She was instrumental in helping to place many of her students in residency programs as well as mentoring future clinical educators. Judy was active in the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) for many years and had served as secretary, vice chair, and chair.
She was a voice of wisdom and brought out the best in those around her. For many of us fortunate to call her friend, she was loyal, caring, and full of fun. Judy had a love of the outdoors and enjoyed scuba diving and hiking.
In her honor, the Foundation for Education and Research in Vision (FERV), the fundraising arm of UHCO, dedicated all proceeds from its 2019 FERV Anderson Fair for UHCO Scholarships concert (which took place in August) to a newly established Judy Perrigin Endowment for UHCO Scholarships. ■
—Contributed by Vinita Henry, OD
WORLD SIGHT DAY CHALLENGE 2019
The World Sight Day Challenge is Optometry Giving Sight’s largest fundraising campaign of the year. The challenge brings the global optometry community together to raise money and awareness to help provide eye care to those in need. This year, World Sight Day is being held on Oct. 10 and will continue through the end of October.
It is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and is supported by eye health organizations around the world—including Optometry Giving Sight—and is included on the official World Health Organization (WHO) calendar.
To donate or pledge participation, supporters can visit www.givingsight.org/giving/world-sight-day-challenge.html . ■
BHVI LAUNCHES THIRD MYOPIA EDUCATION PROGRAM
Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has launched the third course in its Myopia Education Program: The Business of Myopia. The course will deliver the business knowledge and expertise to successfully integrate myopia management into a practice.
Building upon the foundation of practical skills offered in the first two courses, The Business of Myopia provides guidance in areas such as marketing, communications, and education to drive awareness and reverse the trend in the global rise of myopia. For more information or to register, visit https://www.brienholdenvision.org/academy.html . ■
VTI EXPANDS INTO ASIA
Visioneering Technologies has received a Certificate of Listing from Hong Kong’s Medical Device Control Office, Department of Health that applies to the NaturalVue Multifocal and NaturalVue Sphere currently marketed by VTI as well as the NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Toric and NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Multifocal Toric products that Visioneering plans to market in the near future. The registration covers the use of the company’s NaturalVue Multifocal for myopia progression control. VTI will now work to establish a distribution partnership in anticipation of commercial launch in Hong Kong in 2019. ■
SCIENTISTS CREATE CONTACT LENSES THAT ZOOM IN OR OUT WHEN YOU BLINK TWICE
Scientists from the University of California, San Diego and the Harbin Institute of Technology in China have created a new robotic soft contact lens that lets you zoom by blinking twice. The lens can be controlled by your eye movements.
According to the researchers, eye movements such as blinking carry change potential to signal. Therefore, these scientists measured the electrical impulse and found a way to use it to change the focal length of the lens. The study claims that because of the soft materials used in the lens, relative changes in the focal length can be as large as 32%. The focal length is changed by deforming the lens. In the experiment, the team used dielectric elastomer to achieve the required deformation.
The scientists said that this lens could be used for visual prostheses, adjustable glasses, and/or remotely operated robotics in the future. ■
VALLEY CONTAX UPDATES WARRANTY POLICY
Valley Contax announced a new Total Cost Guaranteed warranty policy. According to the company, every lens that it sells will have a single standard price and include free two-day and ground shipping to practitioners’ offices, free add-on services, free upgrades like edge vault and quadrant-specific options, a choice of any material, eligibility for spare lens pricing, unlimited remakes for 120 days (including shipping), 120-day cancellations, risk-free 100% credit on patient cancellations, and the need to only return lenses upon cancellation or defect. The new warranty policy took effect Aug. 19, 2019.
In unrelated news, Valley Contax recently held the Custom Stable Cup Challenge at Optometry’s Meeting 2019 in St. Louis, June 19 to 22. Current optometry students and alumni were encouraged to participate by visiting the Valley Contax booth, where they partnered up and applied the Custom Stable lens with sodium fluorescein and then evaluated the lens’ central clearance. First place was awarded to Southern College of Optometry, which received two $500 scholarships and the Custom Stable Cup. The second-place winner was University of Missouri, which was awarded a $500 scholarship. Along with Valley Contax, contributing sponsors included Menicon, Contamac, Optovue, and TelScreen along with special support from the American Optometric Student Association. ■
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS VISION ASSOCIATION LAUNCHES “DYNAMIC VISUAL SKILLS FOR SPORTS”
To help athletes of all levels, DeAnn Fitzgerald, OD, and The International Sports Vision Association (ISVA), an interdisciplinary group of professionals dedicated to advancing the field of vision training, have launched “Dynamic Visual Skills for Sports,” providing an overview of some of the most relative dynamic visual skills associated with 12 sports-related areas including baseball/softball, basketball, boxing, football, golf, hockey, motorsports, skiing, soccer, sports officials, table tennis, and tennis. Other sports and areas of performance will be added soon.
The ISVA website features a “Find a Sports Vision and Performance Professional” locator at https://www.sportsvision.pro/find-a-sports-vision-performance-professional . ■
COMPULINK TO ACQUIRE MYEYESTORE
Compulink Healthcare Solutions has announced an agreement to acquire MyEyeStore, an e-commerce solution in ophthalmic healthcare that focuses primarily on contact lens reordering with the ability for optometry and ophthalmology practices to also sell other recommended products (including lenses, solutions, and any other products across all 18 specialties) directly to patients. ■
- Paragon Vision Sciences has appointed Joel Kamp as U.S. commercial director. This promotion comes following his success as a director of Corporate Accounts at CooperVision, where he focused on customer partnerships, satisfaction, and growth. Paragon is part of the CooperVision Specialty Eye Care division. In the new role, Mr. Kamp is responsible for sales and marketing strategy and execution, including enhanced support for eye-care professional-centered initiatives.
- Visioneering Technologies promoted Cynthia Flynn to senior territory manager in the Austin and San Antonio markets. In this role, Ms. Flynn will continue to coordinate sales outreach for NaturalVue (etafilcon A) Multifocal 1 Day Contact Lenses and for other NaturalVue Brand products to eyecare practitioners and practices across the region. She started her optical career with a division of Essilor called Silor Optical. In 2000, she moved from the lens division to the lab division of Essilor. She later worked for US Safety before a brief stint with two start-up companies, QSpex Technologies and eSight Digital Eyewear. Most recently, she was with Nikon Lenswear.
- Art Optical Contact Lens Inc. has added the Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) surface treatment as an available option on its specialty contact lenses made in Boston ES, Boston EO, Boston XO, Boston XO2, Paragon HDS, Paragon HDS 100, Paragon Thin, FluoroPerm 30, FluoroPerm 60, FluoroPerm 92, and FluoroPerm 151 GP lens materials. Tangible Hydra-PEG has been available from Art Optical on both corneal and scleral lenses made in Optimum Comfort, Optimum Extra, Optimum Extreme, and Hexa 100 materials from Contamac since January 2017.
- ABB Optical Group announced that its specialty lens lab has been approved by Bausch + Lomb to offer Tangible Hydra-PEG (Tangible Science) surface coating technology in its manufacturing of Boston ES, EO, XO and XO2 GP contact lenses.
- VSP Global has announced the promotion of Wendy Hauteman to chief marketing officer. In the role, she will lead the organization’s global marketing strategy to deliver its products and services to a diverse set of stakeholders. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of marketing for VSP Vision Care (since 2015). She will report to Michael Guyette, president and CEO of VSP Global. Ms. Hauteman succeeds Mark Ginsberg, who served as chief marketing officer since 2016 and who is moving into a new role as VSP Global’s chief giving officer.
- Clearwave, a provider of automated patient check-in solutions, introduced Mike Lamb as its new CEO. Mr. Lamb brings a strong background of executive leadership in technology and digital healthcare solutions to the company. He spent more than 20 years at ADP in senior sales and operations leadership across major and global client segments, followed by seven years as COO and then CEO of Viverae/SimplyWell, an employer wellness company.
- Sight Sciences Inc. announced that Jessica Holmes, Brian Regan, and Jim Sluck have joined the company as vice president of Health Policy & Reimbursement, vice president of Strategy & Professional Relations, and vice president of Dry Eye Marketing, respectively. Previously, Ms. Holmes directed the prominent medical device reimbursement and market access practice at Navigant Consulting as director of Life Sciences and served as vice president of Reimbursement for Argenta Advisors, Inc. She will be leading the reimbursement and health policy strategy for all of the company’s surgical and dry eye portfolio. Mr. Regan was previously vice president of Marketing & Development at Johnson & Johnson Vision following its acquisition of TearScience, Inc. He will lead strategy across both the surgical and dry eye businesses, with a focus on the company’s interactions with key opinion leaders within the ophthalmology and optometry specialties. Mr. Sluck was previously part of the market development team at Shire that led the launch and acceleration of Xiidra in the dry eye pharmaceutical market. He will lead the marketing strategy and execution for the launch of TearCare.
- Harrow Health Inc.’s newly formed subsidiary, Stowe Pharmaceuticals Inc., has entered into an agreement with TGV Health to acquire worldwide rights to the Zian anti-microbial molecule for ophthalmic and otic uses. Zian is a patented small molecule that is water soluble, colorless, and odorless to treat various complex bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. The initial primary indication for Stowe’s initial drug candidates is expected to be adenoviral conjunctivitis, with secondary indications for mixed bacterial-viral infections, keratitis, endophthalmitis, and corneal ulcers.
- Notal Vision Inc. appointed Kester Nahen, PhD, to chief commercial officer. Prior to joining Notal Vision, Dr. Nahen was managing director of ophthalmic diagnostic device manufacturer Heidelberg Engineering GmbH and served on the board of Heidelberg Engineering Inc.