Novartis launches fully interactive Facebook ‘Retina App’ on World Sight Day to raise awareness of retinal disease

NovartisToday, Novartis further embraces the worldwide vision impairment community by supporting World Sight Day with the launch of a new Facebook 'Retina App'. The app simulates retinal disease by illustrating the user's journey by showing a highly realistic view of what the impact of vision loss on their daily life could look like. A part of the Set Your Sights campaign, the app will be launched alongside dedicated social media communities allowing people with low vision conditions and wider audiences to further engage and build a community of support.

This engaging campaign has been mounted in response to the World Health Organization's 2020 Vision Report which asserts that nearly 80% of global blindness is preventable if managed correctly(1) and encourages people to directly engage with vision-loss and experience what it means to live with a sight-diminishing condition. The Set Your Sights campaign is the latest addition to the Novartis portfolio to address the medical needs of people living with conditions affecting their sight.

"As the global leader in the field of retinal disease, Novartis is proud to support World Sight Day by creating further dialogue among people living with low vision conditions and the wider community, generating an environment of understanding and tolerance," said David Epstein, Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Novartis Pharma AG. "This is an important initiative in the pharmaceutical environment, reflecting our focus to always put the patient first. Novartis is leading the industry, not only with our medicines, but by boldly experimenting with new technologies to re-define how the pharmaceutical industry engages people with their health."

Retina diseases include conditions such as wet AMD, diabetic macular edema (DME), retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and choroidal neovascularization secondary to pathologic myopia (myopic CNV). Novartis is leading the way to help address these conditions; Lucentis® (ranibizumab), designed to save sight, has demonstrated transformational efficacy across its licensed indications. It is licensed in many countries for wet AMD, for visual impairment due to DME, macular edema secondary to branch- and central-RVO, and visual impairment due to myopic CNV.

Set Your Sights: This is an interactive online campaign which aims to support people with retinal disease and those who care for them, enabling patients and caregivers to reclaim their lives, gain confidence and find inspiration and motivation to seek treatment for a better, more fulfilled life.

The campaign launches with a Facebook application (the Retina App) on World Sight Day (10 October 2013), which provides an interactive journey aimed at driving global awareness around the symptoms of retinal disease and the need to seek treatment. Users of the application will be presented with a fully tailored, through the lens of their own photos and friends, video experience that shows a highly realistic view of what their life with retinal disease could be like.

The launch will be supported with social conversations on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SetYourSights and Twitter http://www.twitter.com/YourSights, providing the retinal disease community with relevant information on life, their passions and the condition.

World Sight Day was created by Lions Clubs International and blindness prevention organizations worldwide in 1998 and is now driven by the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness to raise global awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.

Novartis commitment to Ophthalmology
Novartis commitment to ophthalmology is further demonstrated by sponsorship of the "eXcellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award" (XOVA). XOVA is an annual award launched in 2010 that provides funding to support innovative, sustainable projects to non-profit initiatives that aim to reduce the burden of blindness. There have been 11 awards to date and the scope of projects from the 2012 applications included: improving eye care in children, reaching rural communities, providing training and education, building or expanding eye-care centers, and installing or improving technology.

About Lucentis® (ranibizumab)
Lucentis was designed to save sight and has demonstrated transformational efficacy with individualized dosing in its licensed indications. As an antibody fragment with a short systemic half-life, Lucentis was specifically designed, developed, formulated and licensed for ocular conditions, and is manufactured to the highest standards for intra-ocular use.

Lucentis is licensed in more than 100 countries, for the treatment of wet AMD, visual impairment due to DME and for visual impairment due to macular edema secondary to RVO, including both branch- and central-RVO. Also, Lucentis is licensed in more than 30 countries for the treatment of patients with visual impairment due to myopic CNV. In most countries, including those in Europe, Lucentis has an individualized treatment regimen with the goal of maximizing visual outcomes while minimizing under- or over-treating patients.

Lucentis has a well-established safety profile supported by 43 extensive sponsored clinical studies and real-world experience. Its safety profile has been well established in a clinical development program that enrolled more than 12,500 patients across indications and there is more than 1.7 million patient-treatment years of exposure since its launch in the United States in 2006.

Lucentis was developed by Genentech and Novartis. Genentech has the commercial rights to Lucentis in the United States. Novartis has exclusive rights in the rest of the world. Lucentis is a registered trademark of Genentech Inc.

About Novartis
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 131,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world.

1. World Health Organization (WHO) Prevention of blindness and deafness. http://www.who.int/pbd/en/ Last Accessed September 2013.

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