Last week’s Ophthalmology Innovation Summit drew nearly 1,000 attendees to Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood hotel, marking the largest OIS event we’ve held yet.
The size of the audience only added to the energy of what’s becoming a kickoff tradition for the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting.
Three dozen ophthalmology companies – representing Drug Delivery, Device and Diagnostics, Biopharma, and Digital Ophthalmology – presented their unique stories to the mix of investors, physicians, and executives.
OIS leadership honored a recent success story by bestowing the Ophthalmology Innovator Award to Tom Frinzi and Dan Durrie, MD, for their work in creating, saving, and then selling WaveTec and its Ora surgical guidance system. Frinzi, in an interview led by Richard Lindstrom, MD, tipped his cap to OIS.
“OIS and WaveTec are very symbiotic with each other,” Frinzi shared. “As OIS grew it created a forum for us to really reintroduce the company. I’ve always had an affinity for OIS because it was so helpful in bringing together potential investors, clinicians, strategic acquirers and gave us the forum to retell our story.”
Allergan president and CEO Brent Saunders declined to share any insights to his company’s conversations with Pfizer, but he delivered a data-packed presentation about the evolution of innovation in the life sciences. He also promised that Allergan will remain committed to ophthalmology for the long term.
The day rolled on with presentations from the leaders of AAO and the National Eye Institute, who shared their unique visions on innovation in the sector. The concentration on new ideas continued with an update on the Google-Alcon partnership from Laurent Attias and Franck Leveiller, PhD, of Alcon.
Next, Casey McGlynn of Wilson Sonsini led a panel including Lindstrom, Mark Blumenkranz, MD, and Reza Zadno, PhD, to give critical advice on intellectual property protection.
The rest of the afternoon went to larger ophthalmology companies including many start-ups that have staged successful IPOs thanks to increasing interest in ophthalmology. OIS hosted its first Public Company Showcase, featuring Aerie, Ophthotech, Spark, Second Sight, and Alimera. A panel of analysts followed the presentation led by OIS founder and co-chair Emmett T. Cunningham, Jr., MD, of Clarus Ventures.
Finally, OIS ended as it always does with a convening of senior executives from opthalmology’s leading companies including Alcon, Allergan, Johnson & Johnson, Santen, Valeant, and Zeiss. The conversation centered on how large companies continue to foster internal innovation and incorporate new ideas from the outside.
We’ll be delivering these valuable thoughts and opinions to you in coming weeks.
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