East Hanover-based Novartis announced Monday that it completed the acquisition of Amblyotech, a U.S.-based software startup, and will, in collaboration with Ubisoft and McGill University, pursue the development of the acquired digital technology for the treatment of amblyopia.
Designed to enhance compliance, Amblyotech utilizes active gaming and passive video technology with 3-D glasses, training the eyes to work together to view an image in full. Its software employs a unique visual presentation, called dichoptic display, where each eye is presented with different images using a proprietary algorithm. In early clinical studies, Amblyotech’s software demonstrated improvements in vision in both children and adults with faster onset compared to standard of care treatments.
“By offering a noninvasive solution that has the potential to be significantly faster than current standards of care such as patching for children and adults impacted by lazy eye, Amblyotech’s software is a great example of how we can reimagine medicine using digital technology,” said Nikos Tripodis, global business franchise head, Ophthalmology.
With the transaction closing, Novartis plans to work in partnership with video game developer, Ubisoft, to develop the Amblyotech software as a medical device (SaMD), create a series of engaging games for the device, and conduct a proof of concept study (PoC), planned for later in 2020.
According to Novartis, it is estimated that amblyopia affects roughly three percent of the global population, some of whom could be appropriate candidates for this therapy if approved. The condition can lead to poor vision and other quality of life issues if left untreated. The condition can impact children and adults beyond their vision, making it difficult to drive and maintain a sense of autonomy. Current treatment options, including patching and/or atropine, are associated with low compliance and low success rates. Approved therapies for adults are limited.