Polymer for the eyes

Atlantic Technology Ventures has signed a one-year option to exclusively license a patented polymer gel technology in the field of Ophthalmology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The company intends to use the technology to develop an injectable lens substitute, which will then be used with Atlantic’s patented Catarex device in both cataract and refractive surgery. The technology was developed by the late Dr. Toyoichi Tanaka, an internationally recognised physicist at MIT.

Atlantic intends to immediately begin a development program centred around the polymer technology which it believes will form an integrated product package in the field of cataract and refractive surgery. The company, through its Optex subsidiary, is currently developing the Catarex device in conjunction with Bausch and Lomb. Bausch and Lomb has an exclusive worldwide license for the Catarex device for human applications.

Current methods of cataract surgery are not compatible with the use of injectable gel lens substitutes because they functionally destroy the integrity of the lens capsule, thereby rendering it impossible to refill the capsule. The Company believes that since the Catarex device leaves the entire capsule essentially intact except for a tiny peripheral hole in the lens capsule, it is the only enabling technology that allows for the possibility of replacing the lens with an injectable, gel-like substance instead of a rigid intra-ocular, fixed focus lens implant.

Atlantic believes that a soft and pliable lens would more closely mimic the eye’s natural function, expanding and contracting quickly to accommodate the different focal lengths needed for near and far vision. ‘While a pliable lens substitute is important to cataract patients, it has even broader applications. A flexible lens substitute could be implanted into any adult and be used to correct not only their distance refractive error, but also potentially eliminate the need for reading glasses and bifocals, which are now required by everyone as they age and their natural lenses start to lose their flexibility,’ said Dr. Joseph Rudick, CEO of Atlantic Technology Ventures.

Dr. Rudick added that ‘the development of an injectable lens substitute, combined with our Catarex lens removal device creates an entirely different market for our products. It would then become a refractive surgery procedure.’

Atlantic Technology Ventures is a publicly held venture capital company specialising in investing in early-stage, breakthrough technologies and rapidly incubating these through a definitive proof-of-principle.

Atlantic currently has four technology investments: Catarex, a device for cataract removal; CT-3, a synthetic derivative of marijuana for treating pain and inflammation; HTS Fibre Optic Transceiver; and 2-5A Antisense Enhancing Technology.

Further information regarding this polymer gel technology is available on the Internet at web.mit.edu/physics/tanaka.