Inside the Ocular Biofactory, with Thomas Chalberg, PhD


Click here to watch the video version of this podcast.

Scientist, entrepreneur, and executive Thomas Chalberg, PhD, has developed or funded companies that have advanced complex gene therapy technology, a novel anesthesia delivery system, and a lens that helps slow myopia progression in kids. And that’s just the start.

A leader in gene therapy development who is recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer, Dr. Chalberg cofounded Avalanche Biotechnologies, which is now Adverum Biotechnologies. There, he built the Avalanche Ocular BioFactory, an adeno-associated virus (AAV)–based, proprietary, next-generation platform for the discovery and development of gene therapy vectors for ophthalmology.

While much of his career has centered on gene therapy, one of his more recent ventures, SightGlass Vision, falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. The company has developed a novel spectacle lens design that helps slow myopia progression. Its foundation stems from research by the University of Washington, which found that high retinal contrast signaling leads to high myopia and that modifying that signaling could slow myopia progression.

Dr. Chalberg also is founder and managing director of Polymerase Capital; founder and managing director of iRenix Medical, which developed a novel anesthesia delivery system used in conjunction with intravitreal injections; director of Chameleon Biosciences, a gene therapy–focused startup; and founder and CEO of Genascence Corp., a gene therapy startup developing products for musculoskeletal disease.

In between all this activity, Dr. Chalberg caught up with Firas Rahhal, MD, to talk about—what else?—gene therapy, along with retinal disease and his history in the anti-VEGF market.

Listen to the podcast today to hear:
• About Dr. Chalberg’s work at Genentech during Lucentis’ launch and early commercialization.
• The philosophy behind iRenix Medical’s anesthesia delivery system, which administers a cooling anesthesia via an automated injector.
• His thoughts on the safety and effectiveness of gene therapy and gene editing for ophthalmic indications and how he sees it evolving over the next several years. Will it replace monoclonal antibodies, serve as an adjunct, or neither?
• How Dr. Chalberg got started in ophthalmology and retinal disease specifically.

Click “play” to listen.