Alcon's anticipated split from Novartis has yet to be completed but the eye care business already is looking for ways to build out its portfolio for when it becomes a standalone company. Alcon reported Wednesday that it has acquired Tear Film Innovations, a private company that makes the iLux device used to treat Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, a leading cause of dry eye.
The news comes at the end of what has been a bumpy year for Alcon, which was acquired by Novartis in 2011 for $12.9 billion.
In June Novartis reported plans to split from Alcon, which will create a new Switzerland-based company. Just a couple months later, Alcon voluntarily pulled all versions of its Cypass Micro-Stent from the global market based on an analysis of five-year post-surgery data. But perhaps the acquisition of Tear Film is a sign of better things to come for Alcon in 2019. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tear Film's iLux device is designed to enable eye care professionals to directly target a patient's blocked meibomian glands and provide therapy through an in-office treatment. Using the iLux device, a practitioner can warm the eyelids via disposable silicone pads to address blocked meibomian glands through the application of light-based heating. While applying the device, the practitioner can view the eyelid margin and apply manually-controlled compression to express blockages, making adjustments as needed to tailor treatment to the individual needs of the patient. Most treatments can be completed in a matter of minutes, according to Tear Film.
The acquisition expands Alcon’s portfolio of ocular health products, including several leading treatments for the temporary relief of dry eye symptoms.
“With the acquisition of Tear Film, we’re excited to bring this latest innovation to treat the millions of people around the world who suffer from dry eye,” said Andy Pawson, Alcon president and general manager, global vision care franchise. “Alcon remains committed to improving the lives of patients around the world through innovative technologies like the iLux device to address significant unmet needs in eye care.”
FDA cleared the iLux in December 2017 and Tear Film launched the device in May. during the annual meeting of the American Society for Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
“Since launching the iLux device earlier this year, we’ve seen an enthusiastic response from eye care professionals who have already begun to incorporate it as an advanced treatment option for patients suffering from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction,” said Rob Thornhill, CEO of Tear Film. “Now, as part of Alcon, we’re eager to bring this technology to even more offices throughout the world.”
The device is currently available in the United States and Canada, but Alcon said it plans to expand commercialization to other countries in 2019.