SCENE + HEARD: Today's Read CooperVision’s Jerry Warner Talks About Myopia Management, Independent ODs and More By Mark Tosh Friday, June 18, 2021 10:33 AM VMAIL Weekend recently sat down with CooperVision’s Jerry Warner, Executive Vice President – President Americas & Global Commercial Functions, for an update on various efforts the company is pursuing. Warner, who was interviewed at the recent Vision Expo East meeting, spoke about independent ODs and their resilience during the pandemic, the proposed joint venture with EssilorLuxottica that is working to develop a spectacle lens for myopia and the launch of the MiSight 1 day lens for myopia management. Question 1: CooperCompanies reported results for its second quarter yesterday (June 3). I read the announcement and noticed that the company achieved all-time record quarterly revenues in the period. How would you characterize the second-quarter results? A: Across the board, the vision business and the surgical business have really performed well, and they have definitely been boosted by the U.S. market. And, as president and chief executive officer Al White said, there are challenges in the rest of the world, but as we progressed into May and now June, we are seeing recovery in markets such as Europe, as well. … We’ve had the opportunity to see what the market opening up looks like in the U.S., and this has been helpful to the rest of our business. But the underpinning factor across the board is that, regardless of where we are in terms of marketplace accessibility, from the position that we had in our markets, we’re continuing to experience success, to take share, and a lot of that centers around our connectivity to the customer. Jerry Warner addresses a group of ECPs in Miami in January 2020 as CooperVision introduced its Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program.Question 2: Many of your customers are considered independent OD practices. How has this group fared with its contact lens business during the pandemic, and do you see these practices recovering more quickly than other groups? A: The thing about contact lenses, and we saw this through the lockdown last year, is that it’s an engagement with your patients that can continue even when the office is closed, at a minimum just through e-commerce. So, at a minimum, doctors who have set up their e-commerce platform or direct-to-patient fulfillment utilizing the manufacturer, the distributor or their own inventory, in some instances … they are able to sell and to move contact lenses. The interesting thing for CooperVision is, I would say, that for the first two quarters of our fiscal year, the performance has been driven by the independent channel. This has been the retail channel, with some exceptions, that is really now starting to open up more. Our independent partners in the U.S. market have been a big driver of the performance of the contact lens business in the first six months of the [fiscal] year. A group of ECPs gathered in Miami in January 2020 to learn more about CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day lens, which had recently received FDA approval.Question 3: The FDA approved the MiSight 1 day contact lens, indicated to slow the progression of myopia, in late 2019, and then the pandemic hit the U.S. shortly thereafter. How have you fared with the launch of this new lens? A: We had a big kick off in Miami in January 2020, and that began our initial education with practitioners to get them certified and up and running. Well, that quickly shut down. So, I really speak about the launch of MiSight 1 day really starting in August of last year….. [Given this], I’m very satisfied in the following way: the interest is off the charts. The engagement is off the chart. [A key element] is whether the doctor can either update their approach or switch their approach as it relates to treating pediatric myopia patients, and that’s time and staff-related more than anything else.As doctors have the opportunity to operate in a full-time manner, with a full capacity and a full book, we are going to see even more acceleration of fitting. To say ‘satisfied’ is probably a little too benign for how I feel. We are really excited. About 25 students attended the CooperVision Contact Lens and Pediatric Residency Summit in Phoenix, Ariz., in May.Question 4: Earlier this year, CooperVision announced its plan to form a joint venture with EssilorLuxottica (involving SightGlass Vision) for the design of a spectacle lens that would reduce myopia progression in children. Are there any updates on the progress of this effort? A: Al White talked about this [on the conference call with securities analysts], and absolutely it is moving ahead. We’re still working with EssilorLuxottica to put together [the framework of] what this will look like, but it’s full steam ahead. From the time you announce these things.—because of the complexity of putting it together – it just takes time and, ultimately, it will need to be reviewed. … All of this [such as what reviews are required] will get determined by the structure of the joint venture. Then we will see what our obligations are, whether it’s here in the United States, potentially in Europe or other markets because the joint venture is global. Question 5: Over the past few months, we’ve noticed several CooperVision initiatives related to optometry students, optometry schools and overall education for prospective ECPs. How does this fit in with the overall CooperVision philosophy and strategy? A: First, all the credit [for this] goes to Dr. Michele Andrews and her team. We made a pivot in our approach to optometric schools that is really anchored to myopia management. We have had high engagement, but now we have upped that engagement. And the goal is to work with all of the optometric schools over time to discuss the best ways to bring myopia management curriculum to their programs. But, on our end, we are going to work with the educators to provide certification of residents as they exit and graduate so they can hit the ground running, certainly in the Brilliant Futures Myopia Management program. We also are looking at areas where we can place those early in their progression in school and match them with doctors who are already fitting. … We are actually at the beginning of the journey of tackling pediatric myopia. The investment in the relationships with the optometric schools is really about the future.