Today, Adaptilens announced a $1.6 million seed funding led by Pillar VC with additional participation from Accanto Partners to fund the company’s development of an innovative accommodating intraocular lens with the aim of allowing patients to live their lives free of glasses and contact lenses.
The company’s mission is to restore patients’ sight to a youthful, natural, continuous range of vision. Adaptilens’ flexible intraocular lens mimics the natural human lens, giving patients clear near, intermediate, and distance vision, by allowing the eye’s ciliary muscles to change the implanted lens’ shape, so that the eye can focus at a range of distances naturally.
Initially, the Adaptilens™ will be used for patients undergoing cataract surgery. According to the National Eye Institute, by 2050, the number of people with cataracts in the U.S. is expected to double from 24.4 million to approximately 50 million.* Each year, doctors in the U.S. perform about 4 million cataract surgeries, typically removing the cataractous lens and replacing it with a flat, monofocal lens that allows the patient to see clearly at distance or near, but not both.** This leaves many patients still dependent on glasses, a nuisance and risk for the patient. Adaptilens aims to solve this problem by developing a shape-changing, accommodating intraocular lens that allows patients to see clearly at multiple distances.
“Adaptilens is delighted to be partnering with Pillar and Accanto. We’re confident that with their strength and resources, we will be able to advance our technology rapidly and efficiently so that we can improve the quality of life for millions of people,” says Dr. Liane Clamen, Adaptilens’ Founder and CEO. “For decades, doctors have been replacing nature’s full, flexible lens with a flat, stiff lens. We are determined to provide a better solution by developing a flexible lens that lets the eye’s muscles of accommodation naturally change its shape, and allow people to see clearly at near, intermediate, and far distances.”
While this innovative lens will initially be used for patients with cataracts, the Adaptilens™ could also be used to correct the vision of patients with a variety of refractive errors. For example, the Adaptilens™ could be used for patients with presbyopia, which is the loss of near vision caused by decreased elasticity of the eye’s lens, typically occurring in middle age. Patients with presbyopia could achieve spectacle independence with the Adaptilens™.
“The biggest challenge in solving age-related loss of near vision has been the difficulty of creating a lens that will respond to the eye’s natural signal to focus. We are developing a unique solution to maintain a person’s ability to see clearly and naturally at both distance and near by regaining intrinsic accommodation,” says Dr. Bonnie Henderson, Adaptilens Co-developer and Chair of its Scientific Advisory Board.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Adaptilens team to bring their innovative corrective eye technology to market,” says Jamie Goldstein, Founder and Partner at Pillar VC. “At Pillar, we look to support visionary technologies, which applies here in more ways than one. The Adaptilens technology accomplishes this through their innovative intraocular lens that mimics the natural lens, something not achieved by current corrective eye surgeries.”
The inspiration for the Adaptilens™ came when Dr. Clamen was asked to write a textbook chapter about the history of the intraocular lens. After exhaustively researching artificial lenses, Dr. Clamen discovered that no one had succeeded in developing a lens that truly imitated the natural lens. Seeing a huge opportunity for an unmet need among the visually impaired, Dr. Clamen partnered with renowned materials scientists to develop a new material that would allow for the development of a true, shape-changing, accommodating lens.
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