New launch is scheduled to release in early 2022
Gretchyn Bailey, NCLC, FAAO: Hi, everyone. Today I have the pleasure of being joined by Andy Pawson, who is president and general manager of Alcon Global Vision Care. Andy, thank you so much for talking with me today.
Andy Pawson: You are welcome, Gretchyn. It is good to see you.
Bailey: I know that there is some big news coming out with a new lens that Alcon will be launching later this year. It is called Total30. Can you tell me about it?
Pawson: Total30 is the second of 2 novel lenses that we have recently been working on. You will be very familiar with Precision 1, which was launched last year and has proven to be very successful. We have been looking very closely at how we can apply some of our winning technologies in Dailies, such as water-gradient technology, and working on how we can apply that to the reusable segment.
The reusable segment is actually super important. It is about 45% of category value. Roughly two-thirds of lens wearers in the world are in a reusable lens, and 70% are loyal to reusable. We felt it was a super important segment to innovate in with lots of potential. So, T30 is our next generation lens that we are going to bring into the reusable segment to help to meet unmet patients’ needs and obviously to help grow our business. We are very excited about it.
Bailey: You mentioned that you are using the water-gradient technology. Does that mean it is the same material as other lenses, or is this a brand new material?
Water gradient technology
Pawson: It is the same material in principle, but obviously, when you take a lens like Dailies Total1 (DT1), and you manufacture it for use as a daily lens… obviously, Daily disposables are thrown away. So, you have to take on the challenge of producing a lens like DT, leverage water-gradient technology, but make sure that it can perform over 30 days. So, it is almost 30 times as difficult to manufacture a lens that can do that.
You want the lens wear experienced on day 1 to be as strong as it is on day 30. So, we have taken the water-gradient technology and, in essence, the same similar material that we have on DT1, but invested a significant amount of science and technology to produce a coating of the lens. That ultimately means that the wearer can clean it and wear it for 30 days.
Our intent, and one of the things that we are very excited about achieving with Total30, is we believe we have produced a lens that is clinically proven to be as comfortable on your eye, and feels like nothing on your eye, on day 1 and day 30. So, all the way through the monthly fitting cycle, and the monthly wear-in cycle, the lens will stay true to the day one performance, even after 30 days. That unique surface chemistry treatment has to be pretty special to make it robust enough to be able to withstand overnight cleaning. It is not an easy thing to achieve. But I am delighted that our research and development (R&D) team has managed to do that with a bio-mimicking surface chemistry.
Bailey: For doctors who are currently fitting Dailies Total1, what would you say to them about Total30? How is it different? Obviously, you have the comfort with the water-gradient technology, which is very key. And if you are saying it continues through day 30, well, that is just incredible. For fitting purposes, how would that be different? What would be different between the 2 lenses and what should they choose? Is it simply a modality?
Pawson: Right. One of the reasons we wanted to brand this lens Total was to create a premium patient journey. We know from our research and also talking to key opinion leaders that typically, whilst there are new patients who come into the daily segment, of course, typically the patient journey usually starts with the reusable lens wear experience.
I am going back to when I started wearing contact lenses. They put me in a reusable lens. And then eventually, I graduated to become a lens wear professional. I graduated to Dailies and still wear DT1 lenses today. So, there is a natural flow in the category to enter into reusables. Then, the potential to trade people up into daily disposables is a pretty common phenomena.
It is not that every new contact lens wear patient goes through that journey. Many actually do enter straight into daily disposables. The reusable segment is sizable for a reason. There are 2 key reasons. Firstly, it is a preferred point of category entry, as a modality. And the second thing, of course, is reusable lenses are a different value proposition. There is a premium to wearing daily disposable lenses. And what you are paying for essentially, is a fresh lens everyday experience.
You are also paying for the convenience of not having to clean your lenses. So, the categories are naturally evolved and segmented in this way. And as I said, reusables are about 45% of the category value and the rest is daily disposable. So, there is plenty of room for a product like Total30 in the reusable segment, as well. It is not as crowded as the daily, which has had a lot of innovation. In fact, the reusable segment hasn't been innovated in something like 8 to10 years since the last lens was launched, which I believe was Biofinity (CooperVision).
There is a great opportunity to bring a premium lens wear experience at a premium price into the reusable segment to add category value. But I think the patient journey can be very simple. We have created this brand that will work in both the reusable segment and the daily segment. We are leveraging the Total brand. And we can drive that premium journey from reusables into daily disposables within the same brand of franchise. We think that is a pretty neat idea.
Available to prescribe
Bailey: When do you anticipate this lens will be available for doctors to prescribe to patients?
Pawson: I am asked that at least every 5 minutes here at SECO, it seems. We have laid our cards on the table and said that we are launching this lens in 2022. We are manufacturing it with ramped-up stages.
Those of you who watched our capital markets day, a presentation just a few weeks ago, would have seen us talk about the fact that we are using our new DSM technology to manufacture our new contact lens platforms. They are currently going through startup and ramp up. So, it is dependent on how that startup goes, in terms of its success rate, and how much inventory we can make over time. We are currently saying 2022, but we are manufacturing the lens right now.
Bailey: Well, it is better to tell people what is coming and have it ready when they want it as opposed to throwing open the doors and having unhappy patients who are unable to get the lens.
Pawson: Yeah, we want to make sure that we can launch the lens with pretty good general availability. And we are also looking to innovate in the family of lenses so that we can relatively quickly follow up with toric and multifocal. And that is our intent. That’s all part of the master plan.
Bailey: Well, you anticipated my next question for toric and multifocal. Are you talking end of 2022 next year? Or are we looking further into 2023?
Pawson: We are typically trying to follow up and fill a family within 12 months. Now, as I said, it depends on when the demand goes to plan. We do intend to launch this lens globally over time. And we obviously intend to fill out the family within a 12-month cycle, if that is possible. But again, it depends on how successful the lens is and how our manufacturing startup goes.
I don't want to set anybody up for disappointment by promising something that we can't deliver. But the general plan is that we will fill the family within 12 months. We do that for a couple of reasons. I think key opinion leaders prefer it that way because our eye care practitioners around the world can stock up on fit sets and meet the needs of all of their patients. That is what they want to do from day 1. If they see a great innovation in the category, they get a great lens. They obviously want the entire family so they can meet all patients' needs. So, that' i what we try to do.
Bailey: Well, here' i a slightly different line extension question. Are you looking to add another available lens to the toric multifocal category?
Pawson: That is a great question, Gretchyn. We are looking closely at the multifocal toric segment. There are several challenges with multifocal toric. I mean, the biggest sizeable challenge is just that the stock-keeping unit (SKU) count and proliferation of the portfolio is massive, and the rate is huge. There are various ways you can serve this market, and some of our competitors have launched or are in the midst of launching multifocal toric products.
We have had great success, but when you have a 45 share of multifocal lenses in the world, which Alcon does, largely driven by the success of DT1 multifocal, obviously,we are watching this space with a great deal of interest. But you know, it is a very complex portfolio. There are various ways you can go about servicing that market on a made-to-order basis or you can take the SKU count hit and drive a lot of proliferation. Very difficult to do that.
Obviously, it hasn't yet been done. It is modality that will be a sizeable challenge for manufacturers, but it is certainly possible and feasible within the reusable space. As I said, because we have a leading position in multifocal, we are looking very closely at the multifocal toric space. Our R&D team certainly has the capabilities to develop it. It is a question of fitting it into the launch sequence in cadence and figuring out how it weighs in our portfolio priorities as we look at them from a business opportunity perspective. We are watching the space closely.
Bailey: That is a very diplomatic answer.
Pawson: Thank you. I have had plenty of practice with that one, Gretchyn.
Precision1 for Astigmatism
Bailey: Let's turn our attention briefly to talking about Precision1 (P1) for Astigmatism. That launched late last year, around November 2020?
Pawson: Yes, back end of last year.
Bailey: I know that that is really just getting going. What has been response to P1 overall and P1 for Astigmatism?
Pawson: The feedback we have had on P1 for Astigmatism has surpassed our expectations. It has been tremendous. The reception from our eye care professionals has been terrific. We launched it in the United States back end of last year. We are just launching right now P1 sphere and P1 for Astigmatism in the European market, and we have had a very similar response. Eye care practitioners love the fact that it is easy to fit. They love the fact that it is a very strong, I think 99% ,first-time fit success rate. So, it is great in terms of maximizing chair time.
The patient reaction on time to settle and the lack of rotation, creating really crisp vision, has been awesome. You merge that with the quality performance of Precision lenses, and it is a great combination. So, the feedback has been awesome.
I am delighted to say that within the daily toric category, within 3 months of full launch in the United States we are approaching the double digit share of the daily toric space, which is not easy to achieve. We have lots of great competitors out there. But to get to a double digit share of daily toric within that timeframe in this category is exceptional and very unusual. So, we are pretty delighted with it. And the feedback has been awesome.
Bailey: That is great news. Congratulations.
Pawson: Thank you.
Bailey: I am sure that we will be hearing about P1 for multifocal sometime soon, maybe Academy time?
Pawson: Well, that is an interesting one. We designed Precision as more of a point of market entry lens for lasting performance seekers who have very demanding lifestyles. And very much a more younger age consumer. But the feedback we have had has been pretty universal in terms of its acceptance and its wear experience, so we are looking at that space very closely. Right now, we didn't have a plan to launch multifocal Precision, but we remain interested as part of the potential in the portfolio.
Right now, we are focusing on our sphere and toric portfolio. And as I said, much more focused at the point of market entry, younger lens wearers. Leaving the space for DT1 at the top end of the market with more of the demanding eyes as you approach the presbyopia age, which I am very familiar with.
Bailey: As am I. Well, excellent. Andy, it has been great talking to you. Exciting news about Total30, and we will look for that early next year. Thank you very much for talking with me today.
Pawson: You are welcome, Gretchyn. It has been a pleasure.