Explore partnerships in ophthalmic biotechnology
© iStock/PeopleImages

Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine and surgery which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders – what do you know about ophthalmic biotechnology.

The ophthalmic biotechnology hub, C20/20, creates an advance range of ophthalmic products. C20/20 is a unique ophthalmic biotechnology hub located at McMaster University in Hamilton Canada. The hub is dedicated to the creation of an advanced portfolio of new ophthalmic products. This includes ocular therapeutics and drug delivery systems treating a wide range of diseases and advanced materials to accelerate new contact lenses for the future (all of which have potential advantages compared to the current market leaders).

To progress our development strategy and focus, we have secured funding from the Ontario Research Foundation, allowing C20/20 to offer alternative approaches to industry for enhanced collaborations. As a result, this accelerates new product development including but not limited to co-development, fund matching and fee for service models.

Furthermore, C20/20 has capacity in a broad range of areas. With expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, biological testing, in vitro and in vivo preclinical evaluation, the C20/20 team has the capability to create and test new materials, develop new drug delivery platforms and examine the materials for toxicity and efficacy in predictive animal models.

We specialise in pre-clinical stage and proof of concept projects with products ready to go to market in five to eight years’ time. Our passion is to drive innovative, life changing therapies for ocular disease with a high degree of unmet medical need and insufficient treatment options. We offer and partner with experienced ocular pre-clinical and clinical research organisations.

Our team consists of a talented group of PhD chemists, biologists and engineers. They are currently working with company partners on projects that involve development of new drug formulations, screening of drug compounds ex situ, developing new contact lens materials and evaluating the performance of an ocular implant in a relevant in vivo model.

Using a mucoadhesive micelle based system

C20/20 is also developing its own intellectual property and currently has a number of different materials and drug delivery systems that are undergoing preclinical validation, with a goal of licensing or partnership with companies for further development. Funding matching as highlighted is just one of the approaches available for companies who are interested in collaborating to develop these technologies using this model.

Recent C20/20 developments include a mucoadhesive micelle based system capable of delivering cyclosporine A to the front of the eye for treating dry eye disease with a reduced dosing frequency. Compared to the current status quo, which involves drop instillation twice per day, this micelle based system shows improved efficacy in a scopolamine induced dry eye model when the drops are instilled twice per week.

In addition to this, loading concentration is approximately 50% higher than the clinical standard. The proprietary micelle based system has the potential for the delivery of other ophthalmic drugs and the technology has been spun out into a new company, 20/20 OptimEyes, to enable fundraising and the transfer of intellectual property. For treating diseases of the back of the eye, a number of different injectable platforms have been developed.

One of the most promising systems has the potential to release anti-VEGF drugs for periods of up to six months. Ongoing preclinical testing is aimed at examining the effect of this system in a choroidal neovascularisation model. The team also has expertise in contact lens and intraocular lens materials as well as solid and nanoparticle based drug delivery.

The team is led by Dr Heather Sheardown, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Sheardown has spent her career working on ophthalmic materials and holds a Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Materials and Drug Delivery. She is widely published and holds more than a dozen patents for work that she has done in her lab and for outside companies.

She has been working in the field of ophthalmic materials and drug delivery for almost 20 years. The hub is run by Dr Frances Lasowski. In addition to a PhD in Chemical Engineering, Lasowski has done a number of business and entrepreneurship workshops that provide the team with knowledge and background related to the translation of their discoveries.

The consortium is looking for partnerships and would be happy to discuss projects in all areas of ophthalmic biotechnology.

Dr Heather Sheardown
Department of Chemical Engineering
McMaster University
+1 905 525 9140 ext: 24794

Laboratory Supplies Directory - Now Live