• By Neasa McGarrigle and Kanaga Rajan
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Expect delays in clinical trials and new drug launches due to the coronavirus outbreak. Companies like Iveric bio—who postponed enrolling patients for a dry AMD trial—are deferring activities to ensure the safety of patients, physicians and company employees. Recognizing the challenges that may arise, the FDA has also issued a guidance to help researchers conducting trials during this time. Reuters, FDA

    The U.K. startup GiveVision is teaming up with Sony to develop and manufacture more comfortable augmented reality-like glasses. The device, called SightPlus2, will use both virtual and augmented reality to provide a more than 100-degree field of view “in near real time.” Its visual data processing technology was originally created for European space satellites. The original SightPlus was similar to VR goggles and improved vision for nearly all testers. With the display and camera tech hidden in the frames, the new glasses will be smaller and lighter than previous options and may be capable of augmenting the wearer’s vision. VentureBeat

    Pixium Vision has successfully activated their bionic vision system in a U.S. patient with dry AMD. The feasibility study is testing the new generation Prima 2 glasses that combines peripheral natural vision and prosthetic vision alongside an implantation device designed to ease implantation and lower potential side effects. A second patient fitted with the implant is expected to have their bionic vision system activated shortly. The success builds on earlier tests in humans and primates and offers hope for restoring independence in patients with dry AMD who currently have no other treatment options. Pixium Vision

    The AbbVie-Allergan merger is almost done, 9 months after the deal was first announced. On the heels of the European Union’s approval earlier this month, the companies have now entered a consent decree agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The $63-billion merger, which will combine the makers of the dry eye drug Restasis, macular edema implant Ozurdex and uveitis treatment adalimumab, moved forward following divestiture of assets that included an investigatory IL-23 inhibitor. The transaction is expected to close May 2020. AbbVie

    Teeth may hold clues to treat dry AMD, according to scientists from the NEI. The findings suggest amelotin, a protein responsible for mineralized hydroxyapatite (HAP) in tooth enamel, contributes to drusen found in dry AMD. Researchers discovered both amelotin and HAP in human cadaver eyes with dry AMD (image above) but not in eyes with wet AMD or no AMD. Meanwhile, they found that blocking the amelotin-HAP pathway could inhibit production of drusen-like deposits in retinal pigment epithelial cells. “Conceptually, you could see coming up with drugs that specifically block the function of amelotin in eye, and this might delay the progression of the disease. But we won’t know until we try it,” said the study’s senior author Graeme Wistow, PhD. NEI
    Image credit: Dinusha Rajapakse, NEI