November 14, 2013
11 min read

LIVE BLOG: Ophthalmology Innovation Summit, Part 1

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Click here for Part 2 of OIS coverage.

7:33am: Emmett T. Cunningham Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, managing partner of Clarus Ventures, delivers welcome and opening remarks.

7:35am:  Cunningham gives an overview of the ophthalmology market.

7:37am:  Cunningham: "Venture funding is going down in general, but in ophthalmology venture funding is at least stable."

7:39am:  Cunningham: "It's been a very good public market across the space."

7:42am:  Murthy Simhambatla kicks off private device showcase.

7:44am:  Jeroen Cammeraat, CEO of i-Optics Corp., is next presenting on Cassini True Axis.

7:45am:  Cammeraat: "We are launching the Cassini here. It's a corneal shape analyzer."

7:46am:  Cammeraat: "It uses LED, a triangulation principle."

7:47am:  Cammeraat: "Even with a prototype ... we are below 4.6-degrees. It's all about true axis. It's all about true accuracy."

7:49am:  Cammeraat: "The Cassini is truly an addition to your refractive cataract surgery platform."

7:52am:  Scott Jones, president at Notal Vision, discusses the Foresee home AMD monitor device.

7:53am:  Jones: "We believe this is a paradigm shift in the treatment of AMD, in terms of detection of CNV."

7:55am:  Jones: "It's a personal at-home diagnostic device. All a patient needs to do is plug into an outlet and use the mouse."

7:56am:  Jones: "There's a critical need for early detection of CNV."

7:58am:  Keith Mullowney, Chairman and CEO of Clarity Medical, discusses their intraoperative aberrometry system.

8:01am:  Mullowney: "Specifically, our strategy is to drive our RetCam technology and commercialize Holos IntraOp, which is being launched here at the Academy."

8:04am:  Mullowney: "Holos IntraOp enables continuous real-time aberrometry, streaming like a movie and overlaying a live image."

8:06am:  Thomas Frinzi, president and CEO of WaveTec Vision Systems, discusses the ORA System.

8:08am:  Frinzi: "We provide the ophthalmologist a surgical guidance tool ... while the patient is still on the table."

8:09am:  Frinzi: "The aberrometer provides phakic and aphakic measurements."

8:12am:  Frinzi: "VerifEye streams refractive information ... resulting in greater accuracy and efficiency."

8:15am:  Mike Judy, president and CEO of Refocus Group, discusses the Refocus implant.

8:18am:  Judy: "During the procedure we insert 4 Refocus scleral implants. It's an extraocular procedure. Today we have an excellent safety profile."

8:20am:  Judy: "We are in our U.S. FDA trial. We are in the process of collecting 2 year data today."

8:25am:  Barry Cheskin, president and CEO of PowerVision, discusses the FluidVision IOL, a fluid-controlled accommodating IOL technology.

8:26am:  Cheskin: "We believe we have the only technology that provides 'true' accommodation."

8:28am:  Cheskin: "To restore true accomodation, one must deliver good distance vision and maintain the natural mechanism of accommodation."

8:29am:  Cheskin: "Recently, we completed a 20 patient cohort ... The results are outstanding."

8:31am:  Michael Rombach, CEO of AkkoLens International BV, discusses the Lumina, a dual-element accommodating IOL, providing up to 4 D of accommodation.

8:34am:  Rombach: "So far we have implanted 50 lenses in healthy eyes."

8:37am:  Rombach: "Contrast sensitivity with the Lumina is equal to the monofocal control."

8:40am: Nicholas Tarantino, OD, chief clinical and regulatory officer of AcuFocus, discusses the latest clinical and regulatory updates on the Kamra inlay.

8:42am:  Tarantino: "The company is dedicated to improving depth of focus."

8:43am: Tarantino: "One of the things that has really helped is the launch of the AcuTarget HD ... this product allows you to very precisely identify the placement of the inlay."

8:45am:  Tarantino: "Kamra Inlay is extremely thin and flexible, compatible in the cornea."

8:46am:  Tarantino: "We're up to 20,000 inlays implanted worldwide."

8:47am:  "Tarantino: Satisfaction rate is very high."

8:49am:  Paul McLean, president and CEO of ClarVista Medical, discusses the Harmoni modular IOL system.

8:51am:  McLean: "It's the world's first fully tailorable IOL."

8:54am:  McLean: "Our goal is to make the Harmoni lens the first choice for all cataract patients."

8:57am:  Harry Ross, president and CEO of Sinopsys Surgical, discusses minimally invasive tools for lacrimal surgery.

9:00am:  Ross: "What we propose is rerouting the tear duct into the sinus, so the next time you have an infection, you put eye drops in ... which lets you deliver to the sinus."

9:05am:  Jean-Marc Wismer, CEO of Sensimed AG, disusses Sensimed Triggerfish, which provides 24-hour IOP measurements in glaucoma patients.

9:06am:  Wismer: "It's a contact lens that provides full 24-hour IOP profile."

9:08am:  Wismer: "Obtaining IOP-related changes is important for the doctor to individualize treatment."

9:12am:  David Muller, PhD, president and CEO of Avedro, discusses the LASIK Xtra procedure and KXL system and worldwide clinical results, along with the introduction of the KXL II system and photorefractive intrastromal crosslinking. 

9:52am:  The private bio-pharma company showcase is about to begin.

9:53am: Vicente Anido Jr., PhD, chairman and CEO of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, discusses Aerie's lead product candidates.

9:55am:  Anido: "We just completed our initial public offering ... we raised $77 million gross. It's enough money to get us through our NDA filing."

9:56am:  Anido: "We do plan on maintaining all of our rights in the U.S. for all of our products."

9:58am:  Anido: "We are working on a once a day product working on the trabecular meshwork."

9:59am:  Anido: "Aeries is a leader in rho kinase R&D."

10:00am:  Anido: "Dual action AR-13324 franchise has been selected for future development."

10:02am:  Jack Elands, CEO of Amakem Therapeutics, presents Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor AMA0076 for the treatment of glaucoma.

10:05am:  Elands: "We did not see any conjunctival hyperemia events."

10:07am:  Elands: "We have more than 20% IOP lowering, but what's more important is hyperemia ... if you look at pretreatment and end of treatment, you can see little change."

10:08am:  Elands: "We consider this to be a real breakthrough."

10:12am:  Amarpreet Sawhney, president and CEO of Ocular Therapeutix, discusses their proprietary polyethylene glycol hydrogel technology.

10:13am:  Sawhney: "The products we are working on are ReSure Sealant ... for the front of the eye we are developing a punctal plug that delivers medicine, and for the back of the eye we're developing VEGF inhibitors."

10:15am:  Sawhney: "We saw 100% retention of the plugs at day 14."

10:16am:  Sawhney: "We are trying to shift the paradigm to sustained therapies in ophthalmology."

10:17am:  Geert Cauwenbergh, president and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals, discusses products they are developing using an RNAi, or RNA-interfering, platform.

10:20am:  Cauwenbergh: "Sd-rxRNA improves delivery vs. traditional RNAi."

10:21am:  Cauwenbergh: "We get into the eye and deliver into the tissue."

10:21am:  Cauwenbergh: "Sd-rxRNA is something we can start looking at for ophthalmology," based on the initial safety profiles.

10:23am:  Cauwenbergh: "Sd-rxRNA is being looked at for retinoblastoma ... as well as neovascularization."

10:25am:  David Guyer, CEO of Ophthotech Corp., discusses their lead product candidate, Fovista, a PDGF inhibitor for treatment of AMD.

10:26am:  Guyer: "There are limitations to anti-VEGF monotherapy in patients with wet AMD."

10:27am:  Guyer: "We believe the future will be the combination of anti-PDGF with anti-VEGF."

10:27am:  Guyer: Fovista 1.5 mg combination met the pre-specified primary endpoint."

10:33am:  Ted Danse, president and CEO of Neurotech, discusses Encapsulated Cell Therapy (ECT) for the treatment of chronic retinal disease. There are two ECT-based product candidates, NT-503 for wet AMD and CRVO, and NT-501 for macular telangiectasia.

10:35am:  Danse: "ECT is able to deliver biologics over multiple years with one treatment."

10:36am:  Danse: "It's a 15 minute, outpatient procedure."

10:38am:  Danse: "You can see out to 66 months solid delivery with this device."

10:39am:  Danse: "We've been studying NT-503 for the treatment of wet AMD... We have assurance of the stability of the delivery."

10:41am:  Danse: "We've shown that we can address a disease target over multiple years."

10:44am:  Vicken Karageozian, co-founder and CTO of Allegro Ophthalmics, discusses ALG-1001 Integrin Peptide Therapy, and the company’s approach to accelerating medical research and commercialization of a new class of therapeutic drugs for vascular and vitreoretinal eye diseases.

10:45am:  Karageozian: "Allegro was founded in 2010 by a group of experienced ophthalmology specialists."

10:45am:  Karageozian: "This is the first time this category of drug has come into this space."

10:46am:  Karageozian: "In the phase 1 study in diabetic macular edema, ALG-1001 was well tolerated with no significant adverse events."

10:46am:  Karageozian: "The average CMT reduction was 31% in all patients."

10:47am:  Karageozian: "We have planned for next year a phase 3 study for VMT, and we plan a phase 2 study in AMD as well."

10: 48am:  Paul Chaney, president and CEO of PanOptica, discusses PAN-90806, a new topical VEGF antagonist for the treatment of AMD.

10:50am:  Chaney: "Is it possible that you can envision a future where a self-administered eye drop could be a mainstay of treating retinal disease?"

10:53am:  "Chaney: PAN-9086 as a topically administered anti-VEGF inhibitor is a way to reduce injection burden in AMD treatment."

10:54am:  Chaney: "It's not about corneal penetration ... the drug is escorted to the back of the eye ... the drug doesn't go through the eye. It goes around the eye by the circulatory system of the eye."

10:56am:  Chaney: "We are confident that we have a dose and a formulation that will get us into the clinic next year."

10:58am:  Andrew Rae, president and CEO of iCo Therapeutics, discusses iCo-007 for DME and iCo-008 for vernal or atopic keratoconjunctivitis and AMD.

10:58am:  Rae: "Our focus is in diabetic macular edema."

10:59am:  Rae: "We are in a fully enrolled 187 patient study."

11:00am:  Rae: "We see a significant opportunity in this space for products that go beyond the standard of care."

11:02am:  Rae: "We are studying it in combination with anti-VEGF as well as in combination with laser. I think there's significant interest in combination therapy in this space."

11:04am:  Rae: "We also have interest in a second asset: human monoclonal antibody iCo-008."

11:07am:  Bernard Gunther, CEO of Novaliq GmbH, discusses the company's patented eye drop and eye spray formulations using semifluorinated alkanes. Their first product is NovaTears for the treatment of dry eye.

11:08am:  Gunther: "Our company mission is to enhance topical ocular drug delivery."

11:09am:  Gunther: "This is a special class of fluorocarbons well known in retinal surgeries."

11:09am:  Gunther: "The aqueous free environment increases stability by preventing oxidation and hydrolysis."

11:10am:  Gunther: "We have raised $35.2 million in capital to date."

11:12am:  Gunther: "CyclASol will enter phase 1 clinical trial for dry eye treatment next year."

11:14am:  Abbie Celniker, CEO of Eleven Biotherapeutics, discusses EBI-005, a novel, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, topical treatment for dry eye disease and allergic conjunctivitis using the company’s AMP-Rx platform.

11:15am:  Celniker: "Despite approved therapy, dry eye still represents a significant unmet medical need."

11:17am:  Celniker: "EBI-005 phase1b/2a study was just completed. We looked at safety and tolerability, as well as signs and symptoms to follow when we move on."

11:18am:  Celniker: "Vehicle group was using much more of the rescue tears ... drug was very well tolerated."

11:20am:  Celniker: "Eleven therapeutics focuses on the biology that drives ocular disease. We plan to start pivotal studies in 2014."

11:22am:  William S. White, president and CEO of Icon BioSciences, discusses their Biosome technology.

11:23am:  White: "The key in ophthalmology is not the problem with the drugs. We don't get the right drug in the right place in a clinically optimal manner."

11:24am:  White: "It is a technology that can be used with small molecules and proteins."

11:25am:  White: "Physicians can tailor duration to the patient."

11:25am:  White: "The technology is a simple injection with a standard syringe."

11:31am:  Guillaume Pfefer, president and CEO of Kala Pharmaceuticals, discusses mucus penetrating particle (MPP) technology for postoperative inflammation and pain, dry eye, blepharitis, retinal disease and a topical tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

11:32am:  Pfefer: "It's taken 10 years of research before we could even found Kala."

11:32am:  Pfefer: "MPP overcomes ocular mucosal barriers."

11:34am:  Pfefer: "We are harnessing the power of nanotechnology."

11:35am:  Pfefer: "We can also get the drug to the back of the eye using MPP technology."

11:37am:  Pfefer: "We are just scratching the surface of what this technology can do in the ocular space."

11:40am:  Gilbert Kliman, MD, managing director of InterWest Partners, opens the Mobile Ophthalmic Technology showcase.

11:42am:  Michael Brownell, CEO of Gobiquity Mobile Health, discusses screening products.

11:45am:  Brownell: "Our focus is on the amblyopia market. ...We really feel like we can revolutionize children's care ... and guide treatment decisions."

11:47am: Doug Foster, CEO of DigiSight, discusses monitoring data analytics for patients with retinal disease.

11:49am:  Foster: "The challenge with treat and extend treatment is that you don't know how the patient is doing in between treatments. Our technology is meant to fill the knowledge gap of what happens after the patient leaves the office."

11:51am:  Foster: "For Pharma companies, we think this database will be very helpful for clinical study."

11:53am:  Richard Awdeh, MD, founder and CEO of CheckedUp, discusses the company's focus on the front of the eye.

11:54am:  Awdeh: "Eighty five percent of patients say they want a mobile app to manage their care."

11:56am:  Awdeh: "We know that CheckedUp has huge potential to allow patients to do and know more."

11:58am:  David Schafran, co-founder and COO of EyeNetra, discusses a smart phone diagnostic for eyeglass measurements.

11:59am:  Schafran: "It's a very simple piece of plastic and an iPhone."

12:02pm:  Schafran: "It's economical, portable, requires minimal training to use, fast and networked."

12:07pm: A representative from KeepYourSight, speaking for Sean Inachulev, MD, MPH, discusses the 503c charitable organization that aims to decrease preventable blindness through innovative online screening tests.

12:08pm:  KeepYourSight Rep: "We have developed 2 different tests available online now."

12:09pm:  KeepYourSight Rep: "It takes about 3 minutes to take this test in their home."

12:11pm:  KeepYourSight Rep: "We have developed two tests: Peristat, a visual field function test, and Macustat, which tests macular function."

12:12pm:  KeepYourSight Rep: "We're not trying to diagnose; we're simply trying to get that initial screening."

12:12pm:  KeepYourSight Rep: "Our focal point is to provide free vision screening around the globe."

12:13pm:  Jeffery Hoffman, managing director and head of west coast healthcare investment banking at JPMorgan, discusses “The Ophthalmology Market — A View from the Public Sector.”

12:14pm:  Hoffman: "Health care IPOs are well-received by investors now."

12:14pm:  Hoffman: "Equity markets are at all time highs."

12:16pm:  Hoffman: "We have a lot of interesting companies looking at the markets getting ready to go."

12:16pm:  Hoffman: "You have a lot of companies performing really well."

12:18pm:  Jonathan Norris, managing director at SVB Capital, discusses “Private Funding and Exit Trends.”

12:18pm:  Norris: "There's some nice, positive sentiment out there."

12:20pm:  Norris: "My prediction is fundraising dollars will remain stable. Investment dollars in companies have to decline."

12:21pm:  Norris: "BioPharma is pretty stable as far as company creation."

12:23pm:  Norris: "Sixteen billion dollars were turned back to investors in the last few years. It's a good time to be an investor if you're getting those exits."

12:28pm: William J. Link, PhD, managing director at Versant Ventures, discusses “U.S. vs. E.U. — A Venture Perspective.”

12:29pm:  Link: "We have strong progressive leading surgeons in Europe, as well as America."

12:30pm:  Link: "We have a better source of capital available in the U.S. than in Europe."

12:30pm:  Link: "There's a regulatory path advantage in Europe."

12:31pm:  Link: "There's no question that there's more financial value being generated by U.S. based companies. But, few, if any, U.S. companies can build value without a European presence, so we should keep working together."

12:33pm:  Session has paused for lunch. Will resume at 1:00pm.

by David Mullin, Joan-Marie Stiglich, Daniel Morgan and Patricia Nale

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Click here for Part 2 of OIS coverage.