Five Minutes with Robert Grant: The LAP-BAND AP® System

| January 24, 2008 | 0 Comments

Robert E. Grant is the Corporate Vice President and President of Allergan Medical, a position he has held since joining Allergan in June of 2006.

What recent developments have there been at Allergan in the obesity intervention area?
In June, the company launched the LAP-BAND AP® System in the United States. This device is an evolution of the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System, which is the first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved adjustable gastric band for use in weight reduction and has been used by bariatric surgeons worldwide in more than 300,000 procedures since its global introduction in 1993. The LAP-BAND AP® System features Allergan’s proprietary 360-degree OMNIFORM™ technology. It is designed to enhance the proven safety of the LAP-BAND® System and to provide bariatric surgeons with another important tool to assist them in meeting the weight loss treatment needs of their patients.

In addition to the LAP-BAND AP® System commercial launch, in February, 2007, Allergan acquired Swiss medical technology developer EndoArt S.A., a leader in the field of telemetrically-controlled (or remote-controlled) implants used in the treatment of morbid obesity and other conditions. We were impressed with EndoArt’s proprietary FloWatch® technology and its use in the development of the next generation of gastric banding device, the EASYBAND™ Remote Adjustable Gastric Band System. The EASYBAND™ is the first telemetrically adjustable (i.e., remote-controlled) gastric band, a technological innovation which represents a significant advance for patients and physicians in the obesity intervention arena.

Specifically, how does the LAP-BAND AP® System differ from the previous design?
The LAP-BAND AP® System represents an important step in the evolution of laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, and was developed in response to feedback that Allergan had received from bariatric surgeons. Besides use of the OMNIFORM™ technology I mentioned earlier, Allergan streamlined the design and added a new unlocking mechanism to make the band easier to place and reposition during surgery. The LAP-BAND AP® System is available in two sizes: the APS, which is the standard, and the APL, which is the larger version. The two sizes offer a great range of adjustability, which together help surgeons accommodate the specific needs of each patient.

With regard to the patient population, where does Allergan see its largest growth potential?
Obesity is a global epidemic that crosses the boundaries of age, gender, and race. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 400 million people considered clinically obese worldwide. Allergan is committed and maintains a strong focus on supporting the needs of the morbid and severely obese population, as evident through our investment in surgeon training, patient education initiatives and reimbursement efforts to ensure those who qualify for weight-loss surgery have access to the LAP-BAND® System.

As new obesity intervention products and procedures become available to surgeons, how does Allergan see the LAP-BAND® System continuing to fit into the treatment landscape?
Unfortunately, obesity is growing at an epidemic rate both in the US and throughout the world. However, in spite of this, people who are severely obese are often in denial about their condition and its related health risks, and are not fully exploring their treatment options. For example, it is estimated that, in the US alone, there are 12 million surgical candidates for gastric banding, but according to ASMBS, it is estimated that only 205,000 bariatric surgeries will be performed in 2007.

As new procedures and products become available, hopefully more people will recognize the impact of obesity on their health, and be willing to explore their treatment options. Allergan is actively supporting efforts in this area; in May, 2007, the company, in partnership with ObesityHelp, Inc. launched the “Moment of Truth” obesity health education campaign, which was developed to help people recognize the physical and emotional impact of obesity.
Allergan also supports efforts in the area of obesity prevention. For example, this past year Allergan supported the HOPE (Harris Obesity Prevention Effort) project at New York University. Project HOPE aims to increase public awareness on a national scale regarding the obesity crisis, in particular childhood obesity.

What can we expect from Allergan in the area of obesity intervention in the future?
Allergan recognizes the long-term consequences of the obesity epidemic and is allocating significant resources toward the continued growth and development of our obesity intervention business.

We anticipate that the LAP-BAND® System will maintain a significant presence and continue to further strengthen its leadership position in the bariatric surgery market. Worldwide, Allergan maintains approximately 80 to 85 percent of the market for laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB), with the depth of surgeon experience with the LAP-BAND® System.

The company will continue to work with bariatric surgeons to better understand their needs in treating patients, and is actively pursuing the development and commercialization of next generation products and technologies capable of providing high-quality, healthier, and less traumatic long-term weight loss treatment solutions.

Time’s up!

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