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FDA APPROVES NEW PILKINGTON BARNES HIND LENS CARE PRODUCTION FACILITY IN PHOENIX

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Pilkington Barnes Hind (PBH), one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of contact lenses, lens materials and lens care products, has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start producing contact lens solutions at its new multi-million-dollar manufacturing plant in Phoenix.
 The FDA action allows the company to immediately start production, packaging and distribution operations for its widely acclaimed SOFT MATE Consept cleaning and disinfecting system for the U.S. and international markets. It also paves the way for faster approval of additional contact lens care solutions, other ophthalmic products and related sterile products that the company plans to produce at the new facility, located at 1100 Bell Rd. in northeast Phoenix.
 The FDA decision was announced by Gary M. Mulloy, president and chief executive officer of Pilkington Barnes Hind Worldwide, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the company's U.S. Lens Care Division President Joe Sicari. Sicari also is president of Paragon Optical, the company's rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens and lens materials division, located in Mesa, Ariz.
 "We are extremely pleased with the FDA's action," Mulloy said. "Development of this facility and gaining FDA approval has been a two-year process that has involved hundreds of people and millions of dollars in investment."
 Sicari, whose Lens Care Division will operate the plant, said the new state-of-the-art facility will serve as a worldwide source for the company's solutions products and will set new quality standards for the industry.
 "The government's action is especially significant given the fact that this facility and its sterile manufacturing processes were the first to receive FDA approval under that agency's latest and most stringent inspection guidelines," Sicari explained. "This puts PBH on the cutting edge of new technologies in contact lens care products."
 The plant, which currently has 150 employees, features automated, high-speed filling lines and sterile filling and packaging equipment that will increase the company's capabilities to serve eye care practitioners and retail outlets worldwide.
 Sicari said the FDA's approval came at a particularly exciting time, given the company's recent successes in the lens care product marketplace.
 "In addition to its popularity in the U.S. market among soft contact lens wearers, Consept has gained significant market share in Japan over the past few months, where today it is the first and only cold disinfection system for soft contact lenses to meet the Japanese government's stringent efficacy guidelines," he added.
 In additon the company's newest product -- ComfortCare GP One Step - - the first system to combine cleaning, disinfection and daily protein removal for RGP lenses, has gained widespread endorsement from eye care practitioners, retail outlets and consumers, with initial sales far exceeding forecasts, Sicari said.
 PBH is a worldwide manufacturer and marketer of rigid and soft contact lenses, lens materials and lens care products. The company is owned by British-based Pilkington plc., a $5-billion global leader in glass and related manufacturing.
 -0- 1/20/93
 /CONTACT: Jeb Bing, director of public relations of Pilkington Barnes Hind, 800-538-1680, or 408-773-5555, or home 510-462-6817/


CO: Pilkington Barnes Hind; U.S. Food and Drug Administration;
 Pilkington plc. ST: California IN: MTC SU:


RK-GT -- SJ004 -- 7173 01/20/93 20:04 EST
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Date:Jan 20, 1993
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