New to the anterior segment arena, Z Lens was founded by Paul Beer, MD, and Edward Eveleth. Dr. Beer has more than 28 years’ experience as a retina surgeon, and Eveleth has been involved in multiple start-ups. Together, their advisors and lens design teams have attracted well-known leaders and research centers, Dr. Beer said, and the company has been completely government-funded up to today.
The Z Lens is an accommodating intraocular lens (IOL) with two foundational patents; the concept has been validated in Rhesus monkey eyes (n = 9). After one year, “our results beat the competition,” Dr. Beer said. To date, the company predicts the accommodating IOL market to be between $500 million and $1 billion.
“Our goal was to replicate the movement of the natural lens, and we achieved that by vaulting the optic forward,” Dr. Beer explained. The lens features four haptic arms to help anchor it. Activation can be achieved non-invasively, he said, and once the lens is activated, “it flattens during accommodation and vaults during disaccommodation.”
The lens will “successfully capture and respond to zonular forces” through titration of the radial capsular sectioning, Dr. Beer noted. Ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) confirmed continual movement of the lens.
“This level of movement is unprecedented in the field,” he said. Capsular fibrosis does not affect the movement of the IOL in animal studies, and UBM confirms an axial shift in the optic of 0.8 mm, with the haptics flexing about 20 degrees.
“The observed accommodative effect is about 2 D,” Dr. Beer added. Plus, the lens meets the FDA label requirements to be considered an IOL.
“The movement amplitude and dynamics match the movement of a crystalline young lens,” he said. “Movement captured is movement transformed.”
The company’s dual-mode AD-IOL is patent pending, and Z Lens has intellectual property protection. The AD-IOL features a “small and simple fluid-filled optic vesicle that gets thicker during accommodation,” Dr. Beer said. Prototypes are expected to be ready for animal testing in first-quarter 2107, and the company is looking for about $2 million in round A financing to take the AD-IOL to human studies.
Paul Beer, MD
He is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Albany Medical Collage, has received multiple teaching awards, merit awards from the AAO, ASRS, and was appointed the PI for 25 multicenter clinical trials and conducted multiple investigator sponsored trials.