Every year nearly 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke. One-third of the survivors experience vision loss. This team plans to give them back their sight.
They’re the founders of Ocellus Vision Therapy, a startup working on a therapy that may improve the vision of patients who’ve suffered visual damage because of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. If it’s cleared by the FDA, this patented process will be the foremost option for treating this condition.
With a recent $25,000 grant from the Innovation Fund, the team is gearing up for FDA submission. Here’s what they had to say about their technology and why they think entrepreneurship can be a little mundane.
Q: What’s unique about this vision treatment?
A: It’s not an evolution or outgrowth of procedures already in medical practice; it’s a totally new approach to treating these afflictions. The procedure hinges on the data of a visual field test that’s performed in any ophthalmic office. Once the standardized fields have been established, the patient’s own glasses are masked with a specific tint of blue and in a pattern based on the patient’s test patterns. Research clinicians think the application of the blue masking might be stimulating the brain and allowing it to create new neural pathways between the eye structures and areas of the brain responsible for visual perception.
Q: Where are you at with the technology?
A: We’re completing a pilot study in preparation for the FDA pre-submission meeting. We’ll be using the $25,000 Innovation Fund award to hire a regulatory consultant and structure the validation testing. After the pilot study, we’ll move on to full FDA submission and testing.
Q: What was the Innovation Fund application process like?
A: The Innovation Fund representatives made it very clear that this was a competitive and comprehensive process. What they did not mention was a huge benefit of going through the process is that tremendous work products would be created and assistance was there to create each of them. Financials, presentations, investor descriptions are all developed as a part of this process and a lot of energy was spent by members of the Innovation Fund to help us get them correct.
Q: What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?
A: Being an entrepreneur requires total commitment in a risk adverse environment. This kind of inner stability is not a core value in every team, and it translates differently than most people perceive. It does not mean having bold direction and big plans, it means making a thousand little decisions correctly. Performance of occasional exciting adventures surrounded by a plethora of mundane tasks; each carrying consequences and rewards; frustrations and gratifications.