Nahum Ferera, EyeYon co-founder and CEO[/caption]
EyeYon was co-founded in 2010 by Dr. Ofer Daphna, a senior ophthalmologist at Kaplan Medical Center and researcher at Weizmann Institute of Science, both in Rehovot, Israel; Dr. Arie Marcovich, a senior ophthalmic surgeon at the Kaplan Medical Center, who was chairperson of the Israel Society of Cataract Surgeons, and specialized in corneal surgery at the University of Toronto, Canada; and its CEO Nahum Ferera, an experienced medical device entrepreneur and business executive, who holds a BSc degree in Bio-medical Engineering and an MBA, both from Tel Aviv University.
[caption id="attachment_6091" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Elka Nir, Chairman BOD, EyeYon; active chairman and CEO at various global private and public companies, and VC funds.[/caption]
EyeYon’s board is chaired by Elka Nir, who brings more than 25 years of broad experience in senior executive positions in the area of medical devices. Elka is the founder and CEO of ELeadIN Ltd., which provides strategic, business, management and investment services. Elka is a board director and active chairman of several private and public companies in the US and in Israel. She is also a Giza Venture Partner. Prior to being a Managing Director and GP at Giza VC, leading Life Sciences investments and portfolio, Ms. Nir was COO & Director of Development and Operations at Biosense Webster, Johnson & Johnson. Elka also served as VP, Engineering & Research at General Electric Medical Systems (Nuclear Medicine), Israel, and VP of Marketing, Sales & Customer Support at GE. Ms. Nir holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Business Administration, University of Haifa.
EyeYon currently has two products under its development pipeline:
- Hyper-CL – a hyperosmotic contact lens, which extracts fluids from the cornea. Clinical efficiency was demonstrated by clinical studies and the product was granted CE Marking.
- DSPEK – an artificial endothelial layer, which replaces the damaged layer that may cause corneal edema. The product is at the pre-clinical trial stage.
Unmet Clinical Need
Corneal edema is an impairment of vision caused by accumulation of fluids in the cornea, the transparent dome overlying the colored iris in the front of the eye. Fluid is constantly removed by the endothelium layer of cells along the inner surface of the cornea. When these cells are injured, they cannot regenerate, and fluid accumulates in the cornea, resulting in swelling (edema) of the cornea and progressive clouding of vision, combined severe pain and irreversible scarring of the corneal tissue.
Abnormal swelling of the cornea is more likely to occur in people 50 years of age and older. Corneal edema can develop after eye surgery, especially after cataract surgery, or resulting from Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy.
Corneal edema may impair vision to various degrees and require treatment, eventually leading to cornea or endothelium layer transplants. Every year there are about 2,000,000 newly diagnosed patients of corneal edema, and there are 10,000,000 people waiting for corneal transplants around the globe.
Except for very mild cases, chronic corneal edema is mostly treated by way of transplantation of the cornea. This treatment has been in use since 1905, but it has major shortcomings:
- Availability of donor cornea is limited
- The procedure is invasive with all the risks of invasive procedures
- Some percentage of transplants may be rejected
- There is a risk of eye infection
A noninvasive treatment option includes a hypertonic solution or ointment, which was found to have limited effects for a short duration of time.
Located in Jerusalem, the Van Leer Technology Ventures Jerusalem (VLTVJ)
is one of Israel ‘s leading high-tech incubators. Sponsored by world leading companies including Intel, IAI, IBM, Applied Materials, Motorola, Teva Pharmaceuticals, NDS, AVX and others, the incubator is owned and managed by Docor International B.V. and the Jerusalem Development Authority.
Partnering with Israeli entrepreneurs to build successful high-tech companies, VLTVJ’s vision is to identify and promote start-ups and entrepreneurs demonstrating high potential for creating thriving and successful technological companies, while strengthening the Israeli economy and positioning Jerusalem as a high-tech leader. Among its community welfare activities, the VLTVJ initiated the Van Leer Scholarship Program. Under this program, the VLTVJ grants Oscar Van Leer scholarships to students of the Jerusalem College of Engineering. In addition, the VLTVJ and College have created a unique program whereby selected students study and prepare a final practical work project in cooperation with the venture ‘s portfolio companies. VLTVJ also established a laboratory of material and optics at the Jerusalem College providing both students and the venture ‘s companies with this facility.]]>