Mazzo: Retina Remains the “Biggest Frontier”

In this week’s OIS Podcast, we spoke with Jim Mazzo, the head of Carl Zeiss Meditec’s new ophthalmology unit.

In the podcast, Mazzo hits upon many critical issues facing ophthalmology and ophthalmologists including the need for better diagnostics that help physicians work more efficiently.

Mazzo, who leaves his post at start-up AcuFocus, lays out his early insights on Zeiss, his one-time competitor. With the OIS Podcast interview taking place on only the second day of his job, Mazzo holds back a bit on drawing conclusions.

But he won’t hold back next week at OIS@ASRS, which takes place on August 8 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in San Francisco. Mazzo will retain his gavel as moderator of the Masters of the Industry panel (fka Masters of the Universe.)

In the podcast we also ask Mazzo his thoughts about the upcoming OIS, our first event focused only on one segment of the eye.

Here are his thoughts on how that focus will influence the group’s discussion. (See participants here.)

“If you look at retina, it is still the biggest frontier that we have faced. So my theme is driving breakthroughs in global access. Why is the US so much larger in serving retina than any other market? Why is that? With the sheer number. How do we address patient compliance? How do you continue to innovate? What is gene therapy? We don’t really talk gene therapy in other categories. So retina, unlike anything else, really has kind of a different makeup. It’s a very severe disease, there’s nothing really knocking it out of the park today from a pure response standpoint.

“So I really want to address that. I think it’s – and I’m going to hopefully get these guys out of their comfort zone, as I try to do. You know, through some fun questions, but your audience is not sitting there to be entertained. They’re there to listen and find out what these leaders are thinking about, and put them on the spot. And I always try to do it in a nice, positive fashion way, but I’ve got some difficult questions for them. That’s why I like to stay as the moderator. I don’t want to be on the panel. I want to stay as the moderator. It’s much more fun.”