Mullica Hill-based OcuMedic Inc., the developer of new proprietary, drug-eluting soft contact lens/clear corneal bandage technology to replace eye drops, announced on Wednesday it entered into an exclusive supply agreement and received a strategic investment from Gelest Inc., an innovator in materials science and supplier to the global contact lens market.
Under terms of the agreement, Gelest will manufacture and supply OcuMedic’s key chemistry components necessary for the controlled release of drugs under OcuMedic’s intellectual property for clear or corrective extended-wear contacts/corneal bandages that deliver a wide-variety of drugs.
Initial indications will be for the treatment of inflammation and pain for post cataract and LASIK surgery and corneal abrasions, as well as for conditions under development such as glaucoma and dry eye.
“Working together with Gelest we will be better able to leverage the OcuMedic intellectual property into a wide variety of applications using OcuMedic’s proprietary platform technology,” said Keith Ignotz, president and chief executive officer of OcuMedic. “This strategic investment and exclusive supply agreement is a further validation of the OcuMedic technology and its potential to revolutionize the eye care market.”
“The exclusive supply agreement with OcuMedic represents a unique opportunity for our specialty acrylic monomers and reactive siloxane materials business to partner with a cutting-edge innovator in ocular drug delivery and further establishes Gelest as a leader in the development and manufacture of innovative materials for contact and intraocular lenses,” said Ken Gayer, CEO of Gelest.
Applications and implications
The OcuMedic technology provides contact lens manufacturers the ability to deliver comfort agents to extend the wear time of daily-use lens. For ophthalmic pharmaceutical companies the platform provides a new “route of administration,” enabling a potentially enhanced “therapeutic index” and providing new intellectual property over the conventional eye drop method that has been in use for 150 years.
The technology is designed to eliminate the patient’s burden of having to treat themselves, which can lead to compliance problems and associated complications that contribute to $70 billion in unnecessary follow up treatments per year.
“An additional novelty of the OcuMedic technology is that eye care providers are already trained to deliver the technology and a wear time of seven days coincides with the recall standards of care whereby the provider places and replaces the device on a patient during a recall visit. The sustained drug release puts compliance into the hands of the providers … ” Ignotz said.