This Month's Profile Group: Artificial Retinal Devices Help The Blind To See, features profiles of 2C Tech Corp., LambdaVision and Nano Retina. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Adenovir Pharma, Akrivis Technologies, Emboline and Phagenesis.
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2C Tech Corp. is developing a non-surgical, nanotechnology-based artificial retinal prostheses designed to overcome the limitations of current, implanted silicon chips and to operate at the cellular level over the entire retina to preserve sight. The start-up’s injectable SeeQ device converts ambient light to electrical energy. As photoreceptors are stimulated by the electrical charge, they release growth factors beneficial for retinal cell preservation.
Artificial retinal prostheses are poised to make a dramatic impact by restoring at least partial vision to people blinded by degenerative ophthalmic diseases. A number of companies are developing complex implantable microelectronic innovations, many with external hardware components, to stimulate the retina and overcome the photoreceptor cell deterioration that is the hallmark of these diseases. LambdaVision Inc. is taking a unique approach to restoring vision by developing a flexible, protein-based retinal implant designed to provide higher resolution and to be less surgically invasive than competing technologies.
Worldwide rates of all diseases that cause blindness are expected to double by 2020 due to the aging population, making this an area ripe for medical device innovation. A multibillion-dollar market has been built around the surgical correction of "front of the eye" age-related vision disorders such as presbyopia, but the technological evolution in ophthalmology has now reached the back of the eye. Artificial retinal prostheses are an increasingly popular area of investigation. Start-ups hoping to enter this market face daunting R&D, clinical and regulatory hurdles, and will require significant resources. We profile three such companies in this issue: 2C Tech Corp., LambdaVision and Nano Retina.