Article

Quick Hits

Alcon’s next chapter

Sergio Duplan, region president, North America, discusses the recent spinoff from Novartis.

By OM staff

On April 9, Alcon completed its planned spinoff from Novartis, becoming “the largest independent eye-care company,” according to Sergio Duplan, region president, North America, since 2015. A few weeks later, Ophthalmology Management sat down with Mr. Duplan at the ASCRS meeting in San Diego to discuss his optimism regarding this period of transition, the state of Alcon and some of its recent innovations.

Ophthalmology Management: Alcon recently completed its spinoff from Novartis. Tell us how the transition has gone thus far.

Sergio Duplan: This is very exciting for Alcon. It’s a new chapter in our history, but, even more importantly, it should be very exciting for our customers. Being independent is going to allow us to be much more focused purely on eye care and operate as a medical device company. This is going to allow us to be faster, nimbler and make decisions quicker because we don’t have to be competing with big pharma thinking, which is a slower process with longer innovation timelines. In medical devices, you need to innovate very quickly.

The other difference is that in medical device, you need to be out with your customers, innovating in the OR. You really need to understand the needs of the surgeons to develop technologies that will help them and their patients. That doesn’t happen in pharma. Now we are going to be able to focus on being much faster and really better serve our customers.

OM: Where are you in terms of the spinoff? Is there a time frame for this transition?

SD: It’s definitely going to be an ongoing process. The good thing is we were already gearing for a spinoff, so I would say we’ve been preparing for this for two years. I think our customers have noticed a new Alcon already even before the spinoff, but we are now able to move even faster.

For example, look at external technologies that are being developed outside of Alcon. For us to acquire some of these very exciting technologies, we had to compete for resources against Novartis’ big pharma projects, which was always very difficult. Now we can make the call right away.

But it’s going to be a continuous process. We are not there yet by any means.

OM: Fill us in on some of Alcon’s recent innovations.

SD: One innovation is our NGENUITY 3D Visualization System. First of all, it’s an amazing visualization experience. Doing surgery in 3D has an excitement unto itself, but the more important thing is it gives surgeons great depth of focus to see the eye better. Also, the whole staff is watching what the surgeon is seeing, and that allows them to be much more efficient and to react to what the surgeon needs vs. when only the surgeon is looking through the microscope. And it’s great for teaching new surgeons. Another key aspect with NGENUITY is ergonomics. Surgeons who are using the NGENUITY say at the end of the day with the heads-up display, “I feel so much more relaxed. I don’t feel so tired.”

Also, we are launching our LuxOR Revalia Ophthalmic Microscope, which has personalized LED illumination technology. It allows great visualization through all the steps of the cataract surgery.

In addition, we are innovating around phacoemulsification. As you know, we have the Centurion phaco platform, a big breakthrough that we launched in 2014. It was really hard to say, “How are we going to improve on that?” We were able to do it by introducing the new ACTIVE SENTRY Handpiece. It is the first and only phaco handpiece with a built-in fluidics pressure sensor that detects pressure in real time and communicates with the CENTURION. This allows the machine to maintain that stability of the chamber in a much better way.

Also, recent data on our AcrySof IQ ReSTOR +2.5 Multifocal Toric IOL with ACTIVEFOCUS shows how you get uncompromising distance vision, which patients really need. At the same time, you get exceptional rotational stability, so wherever the surgeon places the lens, it stays. This lens has been accepted very nicely in the U.S.

OM: What message do you want to give physicians about the state of Alcon?

SD: I would say there’s no better time to be a customer of Alcon. We are in the next chapter of innovation, and our commitment to ophthalmology and to surgeons is going to be at an even higher level than before. OM

QUICK BITS

Lacrivera recently launched the Vera180 Synthetic Absorbable Lacrimal Plugs, which offer extended temporary occlusion lasting approximately 180 days. The Vera180 is designed to be effective for treating post-surgical dry eye and dry eye components of various ocular surface diseases. Available sizes for the plugs are 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm and 0.5 mm. They come packaged in single-pair and 10-pair boxes (20 plugs).

Akorn’s TheraTears SteriLid Antimicrobial eyelid cleanser recently became the first antimicrobial hypochlorous acid eyelid cleanser available in retail stores. The TheraTears is also the first FDA-accepted eyelid cleanser that permits the use of antimicrobial claims. According to Akorn, TheraTears offers an OTC alternative to prescription formulas; the cleanser can be found at retail locations, including Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens and Amazon.

SecondSight says it plans to accelerate the development and commercialization of its Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis System. This decision follows positive results of an Early Feasibility Study for the Orion. The Orion is an implanted cortical stimulation device intended to provide artificial vision to those with diseased or injured eyes. SecondSight will continue to support its existing Argus II retinal prosthesis system during this time, though production of future Argus II systems will be suspended in the near future.

CorneaGen announced that Christine Z. McCauley recently joined its board of directors. Ms. McCauley currently serves as corporate vice president, human resources, at Edwards Lifesciences Corporation.

Diabetic retinopathy market predicted to reach $13.04 billion by 2026

Market research and consulting company Reports and Data released its analysis of the global diabetic retinopathy market, and among its findings was the prediction that the market would reach $13.04 billion in 2026. In 2018, the value of the market stood at $7.39 billion, according to a release from Reports and Data about their findings.

Other findings in the report included: non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy registered the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the market, at 7.5%, with the largest DR market share at 56%; the Asia-Pacific region is expected to register as the highest growing DR segment during the forecasted period, growing at a CAGR of 8.3%; and approximately 1.5% of U.S. adults suffering from diabetes were affected by proliferative diabetic retinopathy in the “recent past.”

For the press release, visit https://tinyurl.com/y5m279ws .

CLARIFICATION

In the “Uncovering early glaucoma” feature in our June issue, Inder Paul Singh, MD, was misquoted regarding the ORA by Reichert. It should have read that “eyes with a low corneal hysteresis respond well to prostaglandin analogues.” The editors of Ophthalmology Management apologize for this oversight.