Aton Pharma Introduces Expanded Distribution of Lacrisert(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert) at Hawaiian Eye

Friday, January 25, 2008 General News
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LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., Jan. 24 Aton Pharma, Inc., a globalspecialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that it has launched anexpanded, comprehensive distribution program that incorporates sampling,reimbursement assistance and patient education resources, for the dry eyemedication Lacrisert(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert). Lacrisertis a unique preservative-free, once-daily*, sustained release prescriptioninsert that helps to retain moisture, stabilize the tear film, and lubricatethe eye.

"As part of Aton's mission to ensure patient access to important therapies,we have established supply chain and commercialization processes to makecertain Lacrisert is well-supported and readily available to patients," saidMichael G. Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Aton Pharma. "As a companyspecializing in essential treatments for under-treated diseases, we are proudto provide a therapeutic option for dry eye with a strong history ofeffectiveness and safety."

"Once the patient inserts Lacrisert in the morning, it usually lasts theentire day, so it's something that is helpful to offer patients suffering fromchronic pain from dry eye disease," explained Penny Asbell, M.D., Professor ofOphthalmology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of thepivotal textbook 'Dry Eye Disease, the Clinician's Guide to Diagnosis andTreatment.' "One of the advantages of Lacrisert is that it is preservative-free."

Lacrisert is administered into the inferior cul-de-sac of the eye, whereit gently dissolves to provide lubrication and protection to the surface ofthe eye. In some patients, Lacrisert may also help slow, stop or reversefurther damage to the corneal surface.

"Due to the great variety among dry eye patient profiles, practitionersneed to be armed with as many effective treatment options as possible," addedDr. Asbell. "Our challenge is to match the patients with the right medicationsto give them the best results. Lacrisert provides practitioners and patientswith an important therapeutic choice."

In addition to assuring a constant and ready supply to wholesaledistributors and providing ordering instructions to all retail pharmacies,Aton Pharma is supporting Lacrisert with a reimbursement assistance help lineand other resources. A new web site,, providesphysician and patient educational materials.

About Dry Eye

Dry eye can result from a wide range of conditions, including aging;hormonal changes; environmental conditions such as cigarette smoke, dust, airconditioning or sun exposure; cold or allergy medications; as a side effect ofvision correction surgery or cosmetic eyelid surgery; contact lens use; andSjogren's syndrome. Despite decades of research and advances in treatment, dryeye syndrome remains one of the most common and challenging issues cliniciansdeal with in practice. Because it is not a condition identified by a specificpathological mechanism, no single therapeutic solution works for all patients.

About Lacrisert

Lacrisert has been FDA-approved for use in patients with moderate tosevere dry eye and available by prescription for more than two decades. Unlikeartificial tear substitutes that have a residence time measured in minutes,Lacrisert provides continual lubrication and protection to the surface of theeye for all-day relief. Lacrisert acts to stabilize and thicken the pre-corneal tear film and prolong the tear film breakup time, which is usuallyaccelerated in patients with dry eye states.

Most adverse reactions with Lacrisert were mild and transient and includedtransient blurring of vision, ocular discomfort or irritation, matting orstickiness of eyelashes, photophobia, hypersensitivity, edema of the eyelids,and hyperemia. Lacrisert should not be used by patients who are hypersensitiveto hydroxypropyl cellulose. If improperly placed, Lacrisert

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