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Aton Pharma Introduces Expanded Distribution of Lacrisert(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert) at Hawaiian Eye
Date:1/24/2008

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Aton Pharma, Inc., a global specialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that it has launched an expanded, comprehensive distribution program that incorporates sampling, reimbursement assistance and patient education resources, for the dry eye medication Lacrisert(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert). Lacrisert is a unique preservative-free, once-daily*, sustained release prescription insert that helps to retain moisture, stabilize the tear film, and lubricate the eye.

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

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

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

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

In addition to assuring a constant and ready supply to wholesale distributors and providing ordering instructions to all retail pharmacies, Aton Pharma is supporting Lacrisert with a reimbursement assistance help line and other resources. A new web site, http://www.lacrisert.com, provides physician 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, air conditioning or sun exposure; cold or allergy medications; as a side effect of vision correction surgery or cosmetic eyelid surgery; contact lens use; and Sjogren's syndrome. Despite decades of research and advances in treatment, dry eye syndrome remains one of the most common and challenging issues clinicians deal with in practice. Because it is not a condition identified by a specific pathological mechanism, no single therapeutic solution works for all patients.

About Lacrisert

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

Most adverse reactions with Lacrisert were mild and transient and included transient blurring of vision, ocular discomfort or irritation, matting or stickiness of eyelashes, photophobia, hypersensitivity, edema of the eyelids, and hyperemia. Lacrisert should not be used by patients who are hypersensitive to hydroxypropyl cellulose. If improperly placed, Lacrisert may result in corneal abrasion.

Lacrisert, as demonstrated in several clinical studies, can help to alleviate symptoms in moderate to severe dry eye patients who may not be receiving adequate relief from artificial tears or who may use preserved tears too often. In a study comparing Lacrisert once-daily with artificial tears used at least 4 times a day, Lacrisert was more effective at relieving symptoms and was able to help existing tears stay longer on the eye surface. Most patients in clinical studies preferred Lacrisert over artificial tears. Lacrisert has also been shown to be effective in patients with Sjogren's syndrome. There are no known interactions with other eye medications.

About Aton Pharma, Inc.

Aton Pharma, Inc., headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ, is a global specialty pharmaceutical company providing essential treatments for under- treated diseases including chronic moderate to severe dry eye, to patients around the world. Aton's mission is to improve patient outcomes and quality of life worldwide by enhancing and expanding access and availability of medically essential therapeutics. Aton's portfolio of seven products, with sales in 32 countries, targets rare and orphan metabolic, neurological, cardiovascular and ophthalmic diseases. For more information, see http://www.atonrx.com.

*Some patients may require the flexibility of twice-daily dosing for optimal results.

CONTACT: Ed Stevens, 727-327-3396, Estevens3@tampabay.rr.co


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SOURCE Aton Pharma, Inc.
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