All eyes on innovation at Glaucoma 360 New Horizons Forum

February 6, 2020
Lynda Charters

Glaucoma 360 will kick off Thursday in San Francisco. The progam includes speakers and panelists from more than 60 companies and institutions.

Speakers and panelists from more than 60 companies and institutions will be featured during the second day of the 9th annual Glaucoma 360 Conference, held Feb. 6-8 at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco at Union Square.

After kicking off Thursday with the Glaucoma 360 Annual Gala, the New Horizons Forum on Feb. 7 is inspired by innovations in all areas related to glaucoma. During the course of this daylong event, industry leaders, and researchers will be presenting their latest advancements in glaucoma therapy.

“This conference is unique because the room is full of innovators from small and large companies, representatives from the FDA, venture capitalists, attorneys, researchers, and even patients,” said Andrew G. Iwach, MD, co-founder and co-chairman of Glaucoma 360. “If someone has a new idea, everyone and everything needed to push a technology forward is in that room.”

Activities kick off at 8 a.m. with the Welcome and Opening Remarks given by Dr. Iwach and Adrienne L. Graves, PhD, also co-founder and co-chairman of Glaucoma 360. The opening will be followed by the Opening Keynote Address, the Drs. Henry and Frederick Sutro Memorial Lecture, titled “When Cost and Innovation Collide in Ophthalmology.”

This lecture will be delivered by David W. Parke, III, MD, CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). It will highlight AAO’s involvement in facilitating innovation through collaboration with industry and the AAO membership and resources.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Parke as our keynote speaker,” Dr. Iwach said. “The collision of cost and innovation is a challenge. It is a complicated dynamic when trying to move technologies forward. Dr. Parke is in a position to comment on moving technology forward because he represents ophthalmologists, works with legislators at the state and federal levels, and interacts with patients and insurance carriers.”

Dr. Iwach added that he is looking forward to the presentation, as well as the rest of the sessions on tap or Friday.

“The upcoming sessions in the morning and afternoon are focused on new ideas that provide both a peek into the future as well as an opportunity to share what is happening now,” he added.

Morning session

Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD, will open the Morning Catalyst session. She is the Frances and Ray Stark Professor of Ophthalmology at the Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. 

The first segment is “Show me the Money-Getting to Go in Early Stage Glaucoma Financing,” moderated by Emmett Cunningham, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, Blackstone Life Sciences; and Christy Shaffer, PhD, Hatteras Venture Partners. The scheduled panelists include Hannah Chang, MD, PhD, Wu Capital USA; Wende Hutton, Canaan; and Jane Rady, MS, MBA, Glaukos Corp.

The “Shark Tank” portion of this session will include presentations by three companies that are putting their innovations in glaucoma into the center ring. It will provide a learning experience for officials from young companies, showing them how the developmental process works, and the questions being asked regarding topics such as reimbursement and funding, Dr. Iwach said.

One company moving forward with a new product is Diopter Corp., which is in the process of developing a new contact lens drug delivery device, according to CEO Chris Adams.

The Diopter approach increases bioavailability of a drug over conventional eye drops by a factor of 50 times, an important plus considering that minute amounts of drugs delivered in drops reach the targeted tissue. This contact lens, with extended drug release, showed good results in glaucoma, with prolonged IOP reductions in an early clinical trial.

Qlaris Bio, Inc., a new enterprise, is developing novel, innovative therapies for serious and debilitating ophthalmic diseases, one of which is QLS-101, which, CEO Thurein Htoo, MS, MBA, said addresses a component of IOP that is not now targeted by current therapies.

With this novel mechanism, QLS-101 may serve as a wholly new option for treating conditions with high unmet needs, including a sight-threatening rare pediatric disease for which few effective therapies are available.

Smartlens Inc. has developed an ultra-sensitive, electronics-free, soft contact lens that can monitor the IOP noninvasively. CEO Savas Komban will describe this platform, which uses a soft contact lens and a smartphone to monitor the diurnal IOP anywhere conveniently via a selfie taken while wearing the contact lens. The software analyzes the image and provides a readout that can be sent to a medical provider. This presentation will be the first report of the data obtained using this technology and will provide an update on new clinical trials of the product.

Also featured is “New Horizons in Devices,” moderated by Inder Paul Singh, MD, president, The Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha; and Devesh Varma, MD, Prism Eye Institute. Companies that are expected to participate include BELKIN Laser Ltd., Daria Lemann-Blumenthal, LLB, EMBA; Ivantis Inc., Brett Trauthen, MSc; MicroOptx, Chris Pulling; and Sanoculis, Nir Israeli.

A session titled “Industry Panel Discussion: Glaucoma Devices,” will include industry leaders who will describe glaucoma devices. The moderators include Dale K. Heuer, MD, retired professor and chairman, ophthalmology and visual sciences, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), retired medical director, Froedtert and MCW Eye Institute, and senior volunteer research scientist, Doheny Eye Institute; and Thomas Samuelson, MD, founding partner and attending surgeon, Minnesota Eye Consultants, Bloomington, MN. The panelists include Ramin Valian, Allergan; Angelo Rago, Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc.; Jane Rady, MS, MBA, Glaukos Corp.; Monika Fischer, MSc, Haag-Streit Diagnostics; Kfir Azoulay, MBA, Santen Inc., Victor Chan, MS, MBA, Heidelberg Engineering; and a representative from Alcon Vision. 

The late-morning session, titled “New Horizons in Drug Delivery,” will focus exciting innovations in drug delivery systems, with moderators Michael Robinson, MD, vice president and Therapeutic Area head, Allergan; and James C. Tsai, MD, MBA, National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) Planning Committee, chairman, NEHEP Glaucoma Subcommittee, National Eye Institute; president, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai; chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Scheduled speakers include Michael H. Goldstein, MD, MBA, Ocular Therapeutix; L. Jay Katz, MD, Glaukos Corp.; Felipe A. Medeiros, MD, PhD, Allergan; Kimberly Cockerham, MD, FACS, 3T Ophthalmics; Casey Dougan, MBA, Kedalion Therapeutics; Michael Nash, Re-Vana Therapeutics; and Murty Vyakarnam, PhD, Zordera Inc.

Afternoonsessions

Following lunch, attendees will be treated to “Innovation 101: How to Translate an Idea into Breakthrough Therapies,” moderated by Dr. Graves, and Malik Y. Kahook, MD, The Slater Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology; vice chair, Clinical and Translational Research; chief, Glaucoma Service, and director, Glaucoma Fellowship, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Department of Ophthalmology. The panelists scheduled for this session include Jeannette Bankes, Alcon Vision, LLC; Mikhail Boukhny, MS, PhD, Carl Zeiss; Tak Cheung, MD, MBA, New Enterprise Associates; and Jag Dosanjh, Allergan.

John Berdahl, MD, Vance Thompson Vision, will present “I Have an Idea, Now What?” Reza Zadno, PhD, Avedro, Inc., will present “I Have a Prototype, Now What?”; Eugene de Juan, Jr., MD, ForSight Labs, will address the question, “I Have Funding, Now What?” Wiley Chambers, MD, FDA, will advise on “Navigating the Regulatory Gauntlet;” and Thomas A. Mitro, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., will share “Tips for Success Learned from the Trenches.”

The next session, titled “The New Horizons in Pharmaceuticals,” will be moderated by Leslie S. Jones, MD, chairwoman, director of Glaucoma Services, Howard University Hospital; and Ruth Williams, MD, Wheaton Eye Clinic. The scheduled speakers are Kevin Peters, MD, Aerpio Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Brian Murphy, MD, Emerald Bioscience, Inc.; Heather Sheardown, BEng, PhD, Mannin Research Inc.; Tomas Navratil, PhD, Nicox SA; and Sevgi Gurkan, MD, MS, Perfuse Therapeutics.

A session titled “New Horizons in Non-IOP Lowering Treatments” will be moderated by Sunita Radhakrishnan, MD, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, research director, Glaucoma Research and Education Group; and Ahmara Gibbons Ross, MD, PhD, assistant professor of ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania. Participants slated for this session include Casey C. Kopczynski, PhD, Aerie Pharmaceuticals; Cynthia Yu-Wai-Man, PhD, MBBS, FRCOphth, NanoGenics; Jeffrey L. Goldberg, MD, PhD, Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Larry Brown, Sc.D., Noveome Biotherapeutics, Inc.; David Esposito, ONL Therapeutics, Inc.; James C. Tsai, MD, MBA, RetNetX Bio; and Derek S. Welsbie, MD, PhD, Catalyst for a Cure Vision Restoration Initiative.

“The Industry Panel Discussion: Pharmaceuticals,” will be moderated by Regine Pappas, MD, Pinnacle Eye Center; and Tosin Smith, MD, diplomat of the American Board of Ophthalmology, Glaucoma Associates of Texas. Thomas A. Mitro, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; a representative of Alcon Vision, LLC; Ramin Valian, Allergan; a representative of Novartis; and Ellie Chabi, MD, Santen, Inc., will serve as panelists.

Moderators Neeru Gupta, MD, PhD, MBA, professor and Dorothy Pitts chair; chief of Glaucoma, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto; and Robert N. Weinreb, MD, chairman and distinguished professor of Ophthalmology, director of the Shiley Eye Institute, director of the Hamilton Glaucoma Center, and the Morris Gleich, MD, Chair in Glaucoma will lead the “New Horizons in Glaucoma Diagnostics” session. The scheduled panelists include M. Francesca Cordeiro, MD, PhD, Illustratum; Kaweh Mansouri, MD, Implandata Ophthalmic Products GmbH; Kurt Riegger, OcuSciences Inc.; Alberto González García, MD, Olleyes Inc.; James Blaha, Vivid Vision; and Patrick Sauvageau, OD, MSc, Zilia.

The day’s events will conclude with a “Forum Summation” by L. Jay Katz, MD, chief medical officer, Glaukos Corp. This will be following by closing remarks and a “Perfect Pitch” presentation by Dr. Graves and Dr. Iwach.

A reception will be held following the closing sessions.

Feb. 8 is the final day of the Glaucoma 360 meeting. It will feature two continuing education symposia for ophthalmologist and optometrists.

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