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Harry Hind



Harry William Hind

Resident of Los Altos

Harry William Hind, a famed pharmacist, inventor and entrepreneur whose innovations include contact lens solutions and the Lidoderm® patch, allowing long-term relief of shingles, died on Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Portola Valley, California. He was 96 years old.

Hind was born on June 2, 1915 in Berkeley, California and raised in San Francisco. While attending Commerce High School, he became a strong ocean swimmer and enjoyed body surfing in Kelly's Cove at the north end of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. There he met fellow surfer Jack O'Neill; the two became fast friends and bonded over the insufferably cold water. Years later, O'Neill developed an insulating wetsuit to shield against this cold. Harry provided some technical suggestions that were eventually incorporated into the final product.

After graduating from the University of California College of Pharmacy [now University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy] in 1939, Hind co-founded the Barnes-Hind Prescription Pharmacy with Clifford Barnes, initially filling only ophthalmic prescriptions, and Barnes-Hind Pharmaceutical Laboratories, both located in San Francisco. Barnes left the partnership in 1941 to become a career naval officer.

The laboratories relocated to Sunnyvale, California and evolved in 1961 into Barnes-Hind Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for which Hind served as chairman and president until the company was acquired by Revlon Corporation in 1976. He continued as chairman until 1987. The company produced both ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic products, including instrument sterilization solutions, dental products, vitamins, an epinephrine formulation for glaucoma, and one of the first pharmacologic treatments for tuberculosis, para-aminosalicylic acid. The use of this drug, together with a drug called isoniazid, contributed to the eventual closure of all tuberculosis sanitariums in the United States.

Hind's first invention was as a senior pharmacy student at UCSF. Together with classmate Clifford Barnes and their professor, Frank Goyan, he developed a device to read the pH of solutions in a direct, standardized way. The device was a forerunner of the standard pH meters used universally today.

In 1940, Hind began his pioneering work with contact lenses at the request of Obrig Laboratories, which made the new, all-plastic scleral contact lenses, then used by patients whose vision could not be corrected with glasses. These large, early contact lenses plagued patients with burning, stinging and constant fogging. Wear was limited to two hours. Because of his research as a UCSF pharmacy student on stabilizing (buffering) the pH of solutions, the problem was obvious to Hind. He created a buffering eye solution that absorbed the accumulation of carbon dioxide under the lenses, which rested on the white portion of the eye and doomed the cornea. Use of the solution allowed patients to more comfortably wear their contact lenses for five to six hours.

Building upon these discoveries, Hind published his work with Goyan on buffered eye solutions and contact lens solutions-and further work, making new knowledge available to researchers worldwide as part of the peer-reviewed scientific record. The research ultimately appeared in the Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association and other journals from 1940 to 1962. Hind received the prestigious Ebert Medal from the American Pharmaceutical Association in 1948 for his first paper. The prize recognizes the author(s) of the best original research on a medicinal substance published during the previous year in the association's research journal.

Based upon his intimate knowledge of eye solution chemistry, Hind advocated for the redesign of contact lenses. In 1948, Kevin Tuoy introduced the corneal lens that moved with each blink allowing fluid to flow under the lens and for gases to exchange. As a result, contact lenses became more comfortable to wear, and use increased. Hind continued his research and eventually developed a line of contact lens cleaning solutions and storage solutions that maintained the hydration of plastic lenses. Both were quickly copied by other manufacturers.

Hind's continuous contributions to the field were widely recognized. In addition to the Ebert Prize in 1948, Hind's awards include: the Eye Research Foundation Award (1958); Distinguished Alumnus Award, UCSF Pharmacy Alumni Association (1966); the Helmholtz Ophthalmological Award, Western Section, Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (1968); Carbert Award: Sight Conservation Research Association (1973); Distinguished Service Award, Proctor Foundation (1985); Contact Lens Person of the Year, American Optometric Association (1987); Man of the Year Award, Pharmacists Planning Service, Inc. (1987); Hall of Fame Award, Contact Lens Society of America (1989); and Honorary Recognition, Contact Lens Manufacturers Association, (1990).

Hind's inventive nature led him to develop another important product: the Lidoderm® patch. When his wife, Diana Vernon Hind, developed shingles in 1989, she received injections of the pain killer lidocaine - just under the skin to avoid penetration of the bloodstream and at half-inch intervals across her back. Relief lasted just six hours. Hind thought there must be a better way to deliver the drug, so he made an anesthetic gel, applied it to her back and wrapped plastic wrap around the gel to keep it in place and enhance its absorption. It worked. The treatment proved surprisingly effective for a variety of painful ailments as well. The patch was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999 and marketed by Endo Pharmaceuticals. The Lidoderm® patch brought relief to thousands of patients and resulted in a new company, Hind Health Care.

The Hinds were strong supporters of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and the California Academy of Sciences. Hind and his wife established two distinguished professorships in pharmaceutical sciences in the pharmacy school. The first is held by James Wells, Ph.D., to support his work in drug discovery, and the second is held by Shuvo Roy, Ph.D., to support his work in the development of medical devices. Hind also supported the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Jack O'Neill Sea Odyssey Program and served as director of the Sempervirens Foundation.

In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from UCSF in 1939, Hind received two honorary degrees: Doctor of Laws degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 1968 (precursor to the UCSF Medal), and Doctor of Science degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1982.

Diana Vernon Hind, preceded her husband in death in 2011. Hind is survived by daughter Leslie Hind Daniels and her husband Troy Edward Daniels; son Gregory William Hind and his wife Jane Hruby Hind; granddaughters Janelle Daniels Takamatsu and her husband Yuichi Takamatsu, Bevin Daniels, Meegan Hind and Kirsten Hind; and great-grandchildren Kaden and Siera Takamatsu.

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 6, 2012
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