New Horizons Forum breaks ground to 'Innovate'

February 8, 2018

Glaucoma 360, a three-day event being held here by the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), will move from its "Celebrate" phase with Annual Gala on Thursday into its "Innovate" phase with the New Horizons Forum set for today. This event is a full day of presentations, panels, and discussions featuring leaders from start-up companies, industry executives, ophthalmic experts, venture capitalists, and the FDA.

 

Glaucoma 360, a three-day event being held here by the Glaucoma Research Foundation (GRF), will move from its “Celebrate” phase with Annual Gala on Thursday into its “Innovate” phase with the New Horizons Forum set for today.

This event is a full day of presentations, panels, and discussions featuring leaders from start-up companies, industry executives, ophthalmic experts, venture capitalists, and the FDA.

“If you walk into that room with an idea that can help patients, you have everything you need to turn that idea into a solution,” said Andrew Iwach, MD, one of the co-founders and co-chairpersons of Glaucoma 360.

Adrienne Graves, PhD, also a co-founder and co-chairperson of Glaucoma 360, said that putting all these innovators, experts, and investors in the same room helps bring ideas to fruition more quickly than might otherwise be possible.

“We are committed to putting new technologies and groundbreaking research in front of audiences that can help turn the ideas into new glaucoma products,” she said.

New Horizons enters 7th year

Dr. Graves said it is hard to believe this year’s New Horizons Forum is the 7th annual installment. “There has been a tremendous amount of innovation in glaucoma since it started,” she added.

Dr. Graves pointed out that 68 companies have presented at the meeting over those years, offering innovative ideas in glaucoma therapies, diagnostics, and drug delivery devices. Such innovation was the very reason the meeting was started.

When it began, no new glaucoma drugs had been approved since the 1990s. No minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices were approved, and no ROCK inhibitors has gotten past phase II development.

“We wanted to serve as a catalyst for the development of new products,” Dr. Graves said. “That vision has become a reality. It’s pretty clear looking at the number of new companies that continue to present that innovations in glaucoma treatment are flourishing.”

Dr. Graves has found it gratifying to see technologies presented at the New Horizons Forum receive additional funding, with a number of them acquired by strategics, and/or brought to market, over the years.

“Seeing connections form is what makes New Horizons so special,” she said.

 

Forum continues to grow

The New Horizons Forum has grown about 10% each year, and more than 50 companies from a wide range of glaucoma perspectives are represented this year, said Thomas Brunner, president and CEO of GRF. “I often hear from participants that this is the best glaucoma meeting of the year,” he added.

Brunner said it is particularly gratifying to see companies that originally attended as startups that have gone on to be acquired and even bring their products to market. “The changes that have occurred in the seven years we have been doing it have been impressive,” Brunner said.

One special focus of this year’s forum is the use of virtual reality in glaucoma care, with presentations on research and product development.

Sutro Memorial Lecture

Ike Ahmed, MD, FRCSC, medical director, Prism Eye Institute; associate professor of ophthalmology, University of Toronto; and clinical professor of ophthalmology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, will kick of the forum with the Drs. Henry and Frederick Sutro Memorial Lecture. His topic is “Interventional Glaucoma: The Why, The Who, and The How.”

 

Other New Horizons Forum sessions include:

  • Industry Spotlight sessions with Santen Inc., Allergan Inc., Novartis Alcon Pharmaceuticals, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, and Bausch + Lomb.

  • New Horizons in Virtual Reality, with moderators Andrew Huberman, PhD, and Felipe Medeiros, MD, PhD. Presenters included Dr. Medeiros for nGoggle Inc. and Ben Backus, PhD, chief science officer for Vivid Vision.

  • New Horizons in Glaucoma Devices, with moderators E. Randy Craven, MD, and Eydie Miller-Ellis, MD. Presenting companies include; Allergan (Michael Robinson, MD, vice president and therapeutic area head); Camras Vision (Ray Krauss, CEO); Ivantis (Brett Trauthen, chief science officer); LumiThera (Clark Tedford, PhD, president and CEO); MicroOptx (Chris Pulling, CEO); Santen (Leonard Pinchuk, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer, InnFocus, a Santen company); and Sight Sciences (Steven Vold, MD).

  • Industry Panel Discussion: Glaucoma Devices, with moderators Malik Kahook, MD, and Dr. Vold. Panelists include Todd Pinkney, senior marketing director, Allergan; Chris Calcaterra, COO, Glaukos; Kfir Azoulay, head of strategy, Heidelberg Engineering; Jane Rady, vice president of business development, Johnson & Johnson Vision; Rafael Chan, CCO, New World Medical; Ram Palanki, PharmD, senior vice president of commercial, Santen; and Angelo Rago, global head, ophthalmic diagnostics, Carl Zeiss Meditec.

  • Funding Innovations: Venture Capital Panel Discussion, with moderators Emmett Cunningham Jr., MD, partner, Clarus Ventures; and Andrew Gitkin, managing director, Piper Jaffray. Panelists include Juliet Bakker, managing director, founder, Longitude Capital; William Link, PhD, founder, Flying L Partners and Versant Ventures; Heather Preston, MD, founder, managing director, TPG Biotech; and Christy Shaffer, PhD, partner, Hatteras Venture Partners.

  • New Horizons in Glaucoma Drug Delivery, with moderators James Brandt, MD, and Anne Coleman, MD. Presenting companies include: Eyenovia (Shan Lin, MD); Glaukos (Jeff Wells, PharmD, senior vice president); Graybug Vision (Jeffrey Cleland, PhD, president and CEO); Mati Therapeutics (Christopher Muller, COO); Ocular Therapeutix (Michael H. Goldstein, CMO); Otero Therapeutics (Morgan Fedorchak, PhD); Retroject (Molly Walsh, MD, founder and CEO); University of California, San Francisco (Tejal Desai, PhD); and University of Southern California (Mark Humayun, MD).

  • New Horizons in Pharmaceuticals, with moderators Lama Al-Aswad, MD, and Robert Fechtner, MD. Presenting companies included Aerie Pharmaceuticals (Thomas Mitro, president and COO); Allysta Pharmaceuticals (Henry Hsu, MD, CEO); Bausch + Lomb (Robert Kissling, MD, vice president, medical affairs); Glauconix Biosciences (Karen Y. Torrejon, PhD, founder and chief science officer); and Novartis Alcon Pharmaceuticals (Melissa Liew, MD, vice president, U.S. medical head of ophthalmology).

  • Industry Panel Discussion: Pharmaceuticals, with moderators Alan Crandall, MD, and James Tsai, MD. Panelists include Tracy Valorie, senior vice president and general manager, Bausch + Lomb; Melissa Liew, MD, Novartis Alcon Pharmaceuticals; Cheryl Rowe-Rendleman, PhD, managing consultant, Omar Consulting; and Ram Palanki, PharmD, Santen.

  • FDA Update: New Paths to Approval, with moderators Reay Brown, MD, and Cynthia Mattox, MD. Panelists include Wiley Chambers, MD, of the FDA; Eugene de Juan Jr., MD, of ForSight Labs; Malvina Eydelman, MD, of the FDA; and Kuldev Singh, MD, of Stanford University.