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Aton Pharma Launches Expanded Distribution and Marketing for Preservative-Free TIMOPTIC(R) in OCUDOSE(R)
Date:8/19/2009

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Aton Pharma, Inc., a diversified specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced it has launched new education, distribution, sampling and reimbursement programs for TIMOPTIC(R) in OCUDOSE(R), the only preservative-free medication for glaucoma available in the United States. Aton acquired the U.S. marketing rights in February to the TIMOPTIC product line from Merck & Co., Inc. TIMOPTIC (timolol maleate) is a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor blocking agent indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. As many as 2.25 million Americans suffer from open-angle glaucoma.

Aton will support TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE with ophthalmic journal advertising, a couponing program, direct mail promotion and a patient information website (www.ocudose.com). Aton's sales force, which has been detailing LACRISERT since November 2008, will re-introduce TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE to eye care professionals.

"As we have done with LACRISERT and other Aton products, we will concentrate on enhancing distribution, sampling and reimbursement assistance while increasing patient and provider awareness," stated Michael G. Wells, Chief Executive Officer of Aton Pharma. "With TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE, we are able serve yet another niche market that is greatly underserved - glaucoma patients who will benefit from preservative-free medications."

"A preservative-free beta blocker is a consideration for many glaucoma patients, who must use medication frequently and for long periods of time," explained William Trattler, M.D., Director of Cornea at the Center of Excellence in Eyecare in Miami. "This is a particular concern for those who already have dry eye or are at increased risk for ocular surface disease, such as the elderly, those on oral medications associated with dry eye and patients with existing lid margin disease. The use of a preservative-free medication such as TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE can help preserve the health of the ocular surface in glaucoma patients."

In a recent survey of ophthalmologists across the nation, virtually all (97%) believe preservative-free glaucoma medications can enhance the ocular comfort of glaucoma patients, while 86% believe that preservative-free glaucoma medications can enhance patient quality of life. Nine out of ten (89%) feel there are not enough preservative-free glaucoma medications available, and nearly half (47%) do not know a preservative-free beta-blocker is available.

The survey respondents acknowledged problems that can be caused by the preservatives in glaucoma medications, including ocular surface disease such as dry eye, and the impact of preservatives on medication tolerance and patient compliance. Three-quarters (73%) report the presence of preservatives impacts their decision-making process for glaucoma therapy.

The survey, sponsored by Aton Pharma, was completed between March 24 and March 26, 2009. Ophthalmologists across the nation were invited via e-mail to enter the online survey, and those who treated 20 or more glaucoma patients per month were asked to complete the survey. A total of 124 completed the survey, including 36 glaucoma specialists and 40 cataract surgery specialists.

TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE is indicated for the treatment of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with ocular hypertension or open-angle glaucoma. TIMOPTIC in OCUDOSE is contraindicated in patients with bronchial asthma; a history of bronchial asthma; severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; sinus bradycardia; second or third degree atrioventricular block; overt cardiac failure; cardiogenic shock; or hypersensitivity to any component of this product. Because of the potential effects of beta-adrenergic blocking agents on blood pressure and pulse, these agents should be used with caution in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency. The same adverse reactions found with systemic administration of beta-adrenergic blocking agents may occur with topical ophthalmic administration.

Aton Pharma also provides the dry eye medication LACRISERT(R) (hydroxypropyl cellulose ophthalmic insert), a preservative-free, once-daily*, sustained release prescription insert indicated for moderate to severe dry eye, that helps to retain moisture, stabilize the tear film, and lubricate the eye.

LACRISERT is indicated in patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndromes, including keratoconjunctivitis sicca. 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.

About Aton Pharma, Inc.

Aton Pharma, Inc., headquartered in Lawrenceville, NJ, is a global, diversified specialty pharmaceutical company providing essential treatments for under-treated diseases. 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 ten products, with sales in over 30 countries, focuses on ophthalmic diseases, orphan conditions and acute care hospital products. For more information, see www.atonrx.com.

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


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SOURCE Aton Pharma, Inc.
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