September 20, 2016
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J&J leadership eyes AMO partnership as resource for advancing optometry

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Johnson & Johnson looks to its planned acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics as instrumental in improving patients’ eye health experience and nourishing the partnership between optometry and ophthalmology.

Johnson & Johnson announced Sept. 16 that it agreed to acquire Abbott Medical Optics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories, for $4.325 billion in cash.

According to a Johnson & Johnson press release, the acquisition will include ophthalmic products in cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health, including over-the-counter drops for dry eye, solutions and cleaning systems for contact lenses, IOLs and advanced laser vision technologies. In 2015, Abbott Medical Optics reported sales of $1.1 billion.

Optometry is “obviously near and dear to our hearts,” Ashley McEvoy, group chairman of J&J Vision Care Companies, told Primary Care Optometry News. “We’ve been there 30 years. We’ve been participating in contact lenses; we work closely with the optometry profession around the world and in developed and emerging markets.

“We’re trying to build out the next generation of optometrists,” she continued. “AMO is the second largest surgical player, and we think there’s a beautiful potential marriage in this community in terms of service to patients.”

McEvoy noted optometrists’ increasing involvement in glaucoma management and pre- and postoperative care of cataract surgery patients.

“Surgeons need to be in surgery,” she said. “We like how those professions can team up, and Johnson & Johnson can be a resource.”

The two companies’ product portfolios are “quite complementary,” McEvoy said. “Their primary call point is ophthalmology, ours is optometry. We think there’s feature value in making sure there’s connective tissue.”

She said Johnson & Johnson is “very passionate about the broader space of eye health in general and eager to partner with the profession and create a high quality eye health experience for patients around the world.”

In the press release announcing the acquisition, J&J said it expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to antitrust clearance and “other customary closing conditions.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO

Disclosure: McEvoy is employed by Johnson & Johnson.