Meeting News

Industry leaders recognize strong influence of optometric practices

NEW ORLEANS – Participants on an industry panel here at the Ophthalmic Innovation Summit held during SECO agreed that optometry’s involvement with and value to their businesses is growing.

Moderator and meeting co-chair Emmett T. Cunningham Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, senior managing director for Blackstone Life Sciences, asked each panelist what proportion of their business was dedicated to optometry.

Calvin Roberts, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Bausch + Lomb, said 60% of the company’s pharma business is in optometry.

Dave Gibson, associate vice president of consumer eye care and customer development for Allergan said, removing surgical, it is about 40%.

Joseph Boorady, OD, FAAO, vice president of ocular surface for Johnson & Johnson Vision, said it is an even split between optometry and ophthalmology in the company’s ocular surface disease business.

Robert Dempsey, head of the global ophthalmics franchise for Takeda, said 60% of the company’s business comes from optometry.

Angelo Rago, global head of ophthalmic diagnostics at Carl Zeiss Meditec also said it was 60% for his company.

Cunningham asked the panelists to explain how the optometric channel is structured in their respective companies.

Roberts said Bausch + Lomb see three channels: corporate optometry, independent optometrists and ODs in surgical practices.

Corporate optometrists tend to focus primarily on the vision side, and “we’re going to see them for that,” Roberts said. Independent optometrists provide vision care, “but are also getting more into the medical side of practice. We are teaching them about our consumer business ... and the therapeutics. They’re getting that full presentation.”

OIS Industry Panel SECO 2019 
Left to Right: Calvin Roberts, MD; Dave Gibson; Joseph Boorady, OD, FAAO; Robert Dempsey; and Angelo Rago.

Regarding ODs in surgical practices: “We are paying more attention to this group,” he added. “As we look to the growth of the premium IOL segment, who are the gatekeepers? Often that is the optometrist in the practice or the one who refers to that practice.”

“We are agnostic to practice type,” Gibson said. “We look at who is prescribing or not, whether they are high prescribers, medium or low. It’s not where they practice, but it’s how they want to practice and what is their desire to treat medical, their attitude and confidence level, and how we can take them to the next level.”

“The market will evolve,” Dempsey said. “Going forward the focus is going to be on increasing investment into the optometric channel.”

Rago said Zeiss also considers how the doctor practices, not the type of practice.

“We have optometrists that mainly do spectacles and contacts, and they’re handled by a completely separate organization,” he said. “If they’re doing a medical model and advanced diagnostics, that’s served by a different organization, and we have products that both groups carry.”

The OR products are, “fairly segmented,” at J&J, Boorady said. “On the contact lens side it’s agnostic. What is interesting is when I was with TearScience, my predecessor did not believe in selling to optometry. When I joined we changed our strategy completely, and sales to optometrists exceeded sales to ophthalmologists in the first year I was there, but then leveled out. There was a pent-up demand. We approach the entire ophthalmic market equally.”

Cunningham asked the panelists what they recommend to optometrists interested in adding innovation into their practice.

“Think of the needs of your practice and where innovation can fill in that gap,” Boorady said. Factors to consider include patient flow, work flow and conditions typically treated.

“Optometrists have come a long way in integrating technology,” he said. “When I ran sales for Zeiss, I thought OCT was for academia. OCTs are everywhere now. That’s just in 1 decade. Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t get a rep to walk into my practice. Pharma companies were afraid to send a rep in because they didn’t want to upset the 99% of their prescribers, the ophthalmologists.”

The panelists also discussed optometrists’ involvement in clinical trials.

Roberts said all contact lens clinical trials for Bausch + Lomb are conducted by optometrists.

“We’re finding we have this pool of optometrists who know how to do clinical trials because they’ve been doing them for contact lenses, and they want to take that next step and do pharma trials,” he said.

Dempsey noted that clinical trials are a significant investment by the practice.

Cunningham also asked the panel how central optometry is to a successful product launch.

“It depends on the product,” Gibson said. “One of our product launches coming up in a few years will be a drop to manage presbyopia. Clearly, optometry will be central to that.

“When we launched Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%), Allergan made a big mistake in that they didn’t equally direct their efforts to optometry and ophthalmology,” he continued. “It’s clear from the Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5%, Takeda) experience that its success is directly proportional to the amount of effort put into it.”

“We just launched Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution 0.024%),” Roberts said. “We took Murray Fingeret, OD, and Bob Weinreb, MD, and locked them in a room together and asked them to figure it out. It was, from day 1, a collaborative effort between optometry and ophthalmology, figuring out what would work in different channels.”

“What we’ve changed recently is we created products for ophthalmology and tried to sell them in optometry,” Rago said. “That’s where we failed. So, Clarus is specifically targeted for optometrists, and we have completely separate products targeted to ophthalmology to give the doctors what they need.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO

Reference:

Cunningham ET, et al. Industry leaders speaking out on the optometric channel. Presented at: OSI@SECO; February 21, 2019; New Orleans.

Disclosures: Boorady is employed by Johnson & Johnson Vision. Cunningham is employed by Blackstone Life Sciences. Dempsey is employed by Takeda. Gibson is employed by Allergan. Rago is employed by Carl Zeiss Meditec. Roberts is employed by Bausch + Lomb.

 

 

NEW ORLEANS – Participants on an industry panel here at the Ophthalmic Innovation Summit held during SECO agreed that optometry’s involvement with and value to their businesses is growing.

Moderator and meeting co-chair Emmett T. Cunningham Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, senior managing director for Blackstone Life Sciences, asked each panelist what proportion of their business was dedicated to optometry.

Calvin Roberts, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Bausch + Lomb, said 60% of the company’s pharma business is in optometry.

Dave Gibson, associate vice president of consumer eye care and customer development for Allergan said, removing surgical, it is about 40%.

Joseph Boorady, OD, FAAO, vice president of ocular surface for Johnson & Johnson Vision, said it is an even split between optometry and ophthalmology in the company’s ocular surface disease business.

Robert Dempsey, head of the global ophthalmics franchise for Takeda, said 60% of the company’s business comes from optometry.

Angelo Rago, global head of ophthalmic diagnostics at Carl Zeiss Meditec also said it was 60% for his company.

Cunningham asked the panelists to explain how the optometric channel is structured in their respective companies.

Roberts said Bausch + Lomb see three channels: corporate optometry, independent optometrists and ODs in surgical practices.

Corporate optometrists tend to focus primarily on the vision side, and “we’re going to see them for that,” Roberts said. Independent optometrists provide vision care, “but are also getting more into the medical side of practice. We are teaching them about our consumer business ... and the therapeutics. They’re getting that full presentation.”

OIS Industry Panel SECO 2019 
Left to Right: Calvin Roberts, MD; Dave Gibson; Joseph Boorady, OD, FAAO; Robert Dempsey; and Angelo Rago.

Regarding ODs in surgical practices: “We are paying more attention to this group,” he added. “As we look to the growth of the premium IOL segment, who are the gatekeepers? Often that is the optometrist in the practice or the one who refers to that practice.”

“We are agnostic to practice type,” Gibson said. “We look at who is prescribing or not, whether they are high prescribers, medium or low. It’s not where they practice, but it’s how they want to practice and what is their desire to treat medical, their attitude and confidence level, and how we can take them to the next level.”

“The market will evolve,” Dempsey said. “Going forward the focus is going to be on increasing investment into the optometric channel.”

PAGE BREAK

Rago said Zeiss also considers how the doctor practices, not the type of practice.

“We have optometrists that mainly do spectacles and contacts, and they’re handled by a completely separate organization,” he said. “If they’re doing a medical model and advanced diagnostics, that’s served by a different organization, and we have products that both groups carry.”

The OR products are, “fairly segmented,” at J&J, Boorady said. “On the contact lens side it’s agnostic. What is interesting is when I was with TearScience, my predecessor did not believe in selling to optometry. When I joined we changed our strategy completely, and sales to optometrists exceeded sales to ophthalmologists in the first year I was there, but then leveled out. There was a pent-up demand. We approach the entire ophthalmic market equally.”

Cunningham asked the panelists what they recommend to optometrists interested in adding innovation into their practice.

“Think of the needs of your practice and where innovation can fill in that gap,” Boorady said. Factors to consider include patient flow, work flow and conditions typically treated.

“Optometrists have come a long way in integrating technology,” he said. “When I ran sales for Zeiss, I thought OCT was for academia. OCTs are everywhere now. That’s just in 1 decade. Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t get a rep to walk into my practice. Pharma companies were afraid to send a rep in because they didn’t want to upset the 99% of their prescribers, the ophthalmologists.”

The panelists also discussed optometrists’ involvement in clinical trials.

Roberts said all contact lens clinical trials for Bausch + Lomb are conducted by optometrists.

“We’re finding we have this pool of optometrists who know how to do clinical trials because they’ve been doing them for contact lenses, and they want to take that next step and do pharma trials,” he said.

Dempsey noted that clinical trials are a significant investment by the practice.

Cunningham also asked the panel how central optometry is to a successful product launch.

“It depends on the product,” Gibson said. “One of our product launches coming up in a few years will be a drop to manage presbyopia. Clearly, optometry will be central to that.

“When we launched Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%), Allergan made a big mistake in that they didn’t equally direct their efforts to optometry and ophthalmology,” he continued. “It’s clear from the Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution 5%, Takeda) experience that its success is directly proportional to the amount of effort put into it.”

“We just launched Vyzulta (latanoprostene bunod ophthalmic solution 0.024%),” Roberts said. “We took Murray Fingeret, OD, and Bob Weinreb, MD, and locked them in a room together and asked them to figure it out. It was, from day 1, a collaborative effort between optometry and ophthalmology, figuring out what would work in different channels.”

“What we’ve changed recently is we created products for ophthalmology and tried to sell them in optometry,” Rago said. “That’s where we failed. So, Clarus is specifically targeted for optometrists, and we have completely separate products targeted to ophthalmology to give the doctors what they need.” – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO

Reference:

Cunningham ET, et al. Industry leaders speaking out on the optometric channel. Presented at: OSI@SECO; February 21, 2019; New Orleans.

Disclosures: Boorady is employed by Johnson & Johnson Vision. Cunningham is employed by Blackstone Life Sciences. Dempsey is employed by Takeda. Gibson is employed by Allergan. Rago is employed by Carl Zeiss Meditec. Roberts is employed by Bausch + Lomb.

 

 

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