The Power List 2019 – Inventors
Associate Vice President, Eyecare Allergan
What place does innovation have within Allergan?
Allergan understands that true innovation comes from working in partnership with ophthalmologists in everyday practice. Through these partnerships we seek to develop innovative solutions that make a real difference for patients. The company’s inaugural eyecare product, Allergan Ophthalmic Solution – the first antihistamine eye drop formulation to treat allergic conjunctivitis – was developed following the suggestion of an ophthalmologist to reformulate nasal drops to treat allergic rhinitis.
While we continue to develop products in our own laboratories, we recognize that the driving source of innovation also comes from outside our walls, and so we look to partner with smaller biotechnology and specialty pharma companies, as well as academia. But it’s not just in product development that we innovate; our medical education has always set Allergan apart. From rising stars programs to immersive learning, we continually evolve and innovate to bring the highest quality, balanced education to support ophthalmologists in delivering better outcomes for patients.
What changes is Allergan going to bring to ophthalmology in the next 10 years?
We will continue to innovate to meet the unmet needs in glaucoma, retina, and ocular surface disease. Diabetes mellitus is becoming a global epidemic, and is now one of the leading causes of vision loss globally; we are invested in finding solutions to screen, monitor and treat diabetic eye diseases, and deliver effective treatment in the real-world setting.
In age-related retinal diseases longer-acting therapies are needed to free up healthcare resources and improve patient compliance. This is an area in which Allergan is significantly investing.
Geographic atrophy, a disease for which there are currently no approved products on the market, is another area of significant unmet need that Allergan is exploring. We have also invested in CRISPR technology and solutions for rare, inherited genetic retinal disorders.
In glaucoma Allergan is leading the way in developing drop-less therapies that deliver better results for patients. We are utilizing and investing in sustained implant technology that addresses capacity issues for healthcare institutions in both glaucoma and retinal diseases.
Our founder, Gavin Herbert summed up our approach to innovation: “We always strive to do things a little differently and better.”