Week in review: Corneal shield, Novartis acquisition, preloaded IOL

Week in review: Corneal shield, Novartis acquisition, preloaded IOL

By Kanaga Rajan

Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

The coronavirus is no match for the cornea …. or so one study claims. Researchers report that donor corneas exposed to Zika virus, herpes simplex virus 1 or SARS-CoV-2 were only infected by the first 2 viruses; the novel coronavirus did not replicate in the tissue. In addition, the team noticed that both Zika and herpes simplex could be hindered by corneal interferon lambda, while SARS-CoV-2 remained totally unaffected. Despite these exciting results, it is still too early to relax the emphasis on eye protection, the authors note in the press release. Further research is necessary to determine if tissues in and around the cornea are susceptible to the virus. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Cell Reports

A new treatment for Stargardt disease has gained FDA support. ReVision Therapeutics’ treatment REV-0100 was given orphan status and was designated as a rare pediatric disease drug. The drug has the potential to improve retinal health by reducing levels of toxic lipid material (lipofuscin). “Our work with reVision Therapeutics, and the steps the company has taken to advance REV-0100, underscore the value of translational science in making a difference in the lives of our littlest patients,” said Lisa Placanica, PhD, senior managing director of Cornell University’s Center for Technology Licensing. reVision Therapeutics

Novartis continues to grow: They have acquired Vedere Bio, adding novel optogenetic gene therapy technology to their portfolio. For $150 million upfront, and up to $130 million in milestone payments, Novartis gained 2 preclinical optogenetic AAV gene therapy programs and novel delivery tech for treating inherited retinal dystrophies and geographic atrophy. The optogenetics technology bypasses damaged photoreceptors to stimulate visual processing centers in the brain while the novel AAV capsids allow optogenetic treatments to be injected intravitreally. “With the new tools that this acquisition brings to the table, we will no longer be limited to replacing single genetic mutations that are causing eye diseases,” explained Cynthia Grosskreutz, Novartis’ global head of ophthalmology. Novartis, Vedere Bio

Bausch + Lomb has revealed the first preloaded toric IOL available in the United States. The SimplifEYE IOL system delivers the enVista MX60PL and toric MX60PT lenses via an incision as small as 2.2 mm. The system is equipped with a beveled tip for consistent lens folding, a proprietary coating on the inserter to eliminate linear additive transfer deposits on the IOL surface, and a viscoelastic port for adequate lubrication. Plus, the device is transparent to aid visualization during implantation and has a cartridge to keep the IOL in the proper position. Bausch + Lomb