OIS@ASCRS Brings Innovators Together in New Orleans

OIS@ASCRS Brings Innovators Together in New Orleans  - Eye On Innovation OIS@ASCRS 2016

More than 500 leaders in ophthalmology gathered last week at the InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans to discuss new technologies used to treat the anterior segment of the eye at the 12th Ophthalmology Innovation Summit.

For the fifth time, OIS preceded the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons annual meeting. In a kick-off presentation, co-chair Bill Link, PhD, general partner at Versant Ventures, recalled the start of OIS for the crowd of inventors/entrepreneurs, KOLs, ophthalmology executives, and venture capitalists.

Link admitted to having had some trepidation about starting an ophthalmology-focused meeting, but at the first OIS in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco Link acknowledged the idea might have merit when “the fire marshal had to lock the door” to keep the meeting from getting too crowded.

In an interview after the New Orleans conference, Link joined with co-chairs Emmett Cunningham, MD, partner at Clarus Ventures, and Gil Kliman, MD, to review the day’s highlights and reflect on the growth of OIS, which includes the creation of a new conference to be held prior to the American Society of Retina Specialists on August 8 in San Francisco.

(You can watch the full interview here.)

Cunningham believes OIS reflects “a natural union of the entrepreneur and the investor and the industrial or strategic partner. It’s a place where everyone comes together and has this common goal of fostering innovation and feels safe to do it. It’s not the academic who walks into industry and feels they are out of place or visa versa. Here everyone is committed to that innovation and that feels great.”

Kliman spearheaded a new addition to the OIS meeting, “WTF@OIS,” which stands playfully for “What’s The Future @ OIS,” in which several companies with unusual approaches to eye care told their stories and engaged the audience in polling.

Kliman said the high point for him was the audience participation in polling. “I was very surprised by many answers to the questions,” he said. “It’s one thing we could cultivate more. We have an incredibly rich audience with amazing experience and to able to get more input and interaction from them is something we will be focused on in future meetings.”

The day concluded with the Masters of the Universe panel where AcuFocus executive chairman Jim Mazzo led a discussion between Link and executives from Abbott Medical Optics, Alcon, Allergan, Bausch & Lomb, Carl Zeiss Meditec, and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Mazzo introduced the panel – and the notion of industry consolidation – with a clever take on the game Agar.io as laid out in the TV show, “House of Cards.”

You can watch the video here.

We’ll be posting videos and publishing articles from OIS@ASCRS in coming weeks on OIS.net.