Bausch + Lomb, Sanoculis announce strategic agreements to address unmet needs in glaucoma

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Bausch + Lomb has made an equity investment in Sanoculis and has entered into an exclusive European distribution agreement for MIMS minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Bausch + Lomb Corp. and Sanoculis, an Israeli ophthalmic medical device start-up company, this week announced they have entered into strategic agreements designed to address unmet needs in glaucoma.

According to a news release, the companies have entered into an exclusive European distribution agreement for Sanoculis' Minimally Invasive Micro Sclerostomy (MIMS), a minimally invasive surgical procedure for the treatment of glaucoma. Additionally, Bausch + Lomb has made an equity investment in Sanoculis as part of a Series C round of funding.

According to the World Glaucoma Association, glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness, and it is estimated that 79.6 million individuals had glaucoma in 2020, a number that is expected to rise to 111.8 million by 2040.1

According to the companies, MIMS is a stentless, simple and fast glaucoma treatment that effectively lowers intraocular pressure without the need for invasive surgery. MIMS®, which is CE-marked, creates a sclero-corneal drainage channel during the surgery, thus eliminating the need to implant a stent in the eye as with existing stent procedures.

Joseph C. Papa, CEO, Bausch + Lomb, pointed out that the prevalence of glaucoma is estimated to continue to increase substantially over the next nearly 20 years, and there remains a real need for new and alternative treatment options.

“Through our distribution agreement and equity stake in Sanoculis, we are strengthening our commitment to seek and make available new glaucoma treatment options for our customers and patients,” Papa said. “As a global eye health leader with a fully integrated eye care portfolio, Bausch + Lomb remains committed to holistically addressing eye health problems, particularly in continuing areas of unmet need like glaucoma.”

Nir Israeli, co-founder and CEO, Sanoculis, noted in the news release that both the distribution agreement and investment are a significant milestone for Sanoculis, because they demonstrate the strong trust Bausch + Lomb has in the company’s technology.

“Together they will enable Sanoculis to expand its foothold and customer base in Europe. Bausch + Lomb's extensive distribution footprint in Europe will ensure that many additional glaucoma specialists and their patients will have access to MIMS," Israeli said in a statement. "We believe MIMS will be a strong complement to Bausch + Lomb's portfolio of products and will further position Bausch + Lomb's leadership in the surgical glaucoma segment."

Moreover, Ike Ahmed, medical director and professor, Prism Eye Institute, Canada, noted that he has operated on a dozen patients with the MIMS device and procedure, and he said he believes the device only requires a very short learning curve, and it is a safe alternative to stent procedures.

"MIMS can be easily used together with cataract surgery, and it fits most glaucoma patients,” he said in a statement. “The clinical data from Europe demonstrates efficacy similar to trabeculectomy with fewer side effects. The fact that nothing is left behind keeps the door open for future therapeutic options, which is a major advantage."

Additionally, the companies have entered into an option agreement, pursuant to which Bausch + Lomb has an option to purchase all of Sanoculis' assets.