Eye on Five – February Edition

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The Transcend acquisition tops the list, but February was a promising month for ophthalmology.

Alcon Leaps into MIGS with Transcend
With its acquisition of Transcend Medical and its CyPass Micro-Stent platform for glaucoma, Novartis aims to kick start the lackluster growth of its Alcon unit by tapping into the high-growth micro-invasive glaucoma surgery device market with a technology that’s moving through the FDA approval pipeline. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Argus II Retinal Implant Still Works at 5 Years
Second Sight Medical Products reports that five-year rates of adverse events and visual performance in patients who have had the Argus II retinal implant are comparable to three-year results. James Tahara Handa, MD, of Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, reported the results on behalf of the Argus II Study Group at the 39th Annual Macula Society Meeting in Miami Beach, FL.

NEI Researchers Find 3 More Glaucoma-Related Genes
The number of genes known to contribute to primary open angle glaucoma has jumped to 15 thanks to the discovery of three new genes by researchers at the National Eye Institute. In results published in Nature Genetics, the NEI investigators reported that specific variations in the genes FOXC1, TXNRD2, and ATXN2 are associated with glaucoma.

Avalanche Moves Beyond Ophthalmology with Annapurna
After a leadership change and disappointing topline results of its lead gene therapy candidate for age-related macular degeneration, Avalanche Biotechnologies Inc. is spreading its wings beyond ophthalmology with the acquisition of Paris-based Annapurna for $105 million in stock. Annapurna has been developing a number of gene therapies outside of ophthalmology.

ONL Therapeutics Gets FDA Orphan Drug Designation
The Food and Drug Administration granted orphan drug designation for ONL Therapeutics‘ first-in-class small-molecule peptide, ONL1204, for the treatment of retinal detachment. ONL1204 is designed to protect key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, from cell death that occurs in retinal disease.

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