A close image of a blue eye
The private company has positioned its FluidVision lens as an alternative to traditional lens implants.
Barry Cheskin

CEO: Barry Cheskin
Based: Belmont, California
Founded: 2002
Company website

The scoop

Though PowerVision has been around for more than a decade, this past year has been a catalyst for the company’s goal of clearing a path for its innovative fluid-based intraocular lens in what is a crowded market for ophthalmological devices. The private company has positioned its FluidVision lens as an alternative to traditional lens implants, which are more rigid and less comprehensive in scope. The device contains fluid that responds to muscle movement, imitating natural processes that occur in the eye—becoming thicker for seeing at near distances and thinner when looking at greater distances.

FluidVision, which is currently not FDA approved, would be a welcome sight for cataract patients who suffer from farsightedness (presbyopia), which is a lack of elasticity in the eye that is common in middle-aged and older patients. PowerVision’s accommodating interocular lens is surgically implanted into the eye’s capsular bag during cataract surgery.

The device also captured the attention of investors this year as well. In April, Novartis’ vision business Alcon injected an undisclosed amount of funding into PowerVision’s Series D financing. The deal also gave Alcon an option to acquire PowerVision. Although no dollar amount was disclosed, according to an SEC filing, the company saw its take in the financing round jump from $30 million to $40 million, giving PowerVision a nice war chest to push through on development and clinical trials going into 2017.

What makes PowerVision fierce

A pilot study of sighted eyes in 2014 that was conducted by two surgeons in South Africa showed promising results for the device. According to a review of the study by MillennialEYE, follow-up data at 18 months of the 20 eyes implanted with the FluidVision lens indicated that the mean level of distance acuity was actually better than 20/20.

What to look for

In a November interview with OIS-TV, PowerVision co-founder, president and CEO, Barry Cheskin, said the partnership with Alcon was doing well and that progress on FluidVision was moving ahead with the design stage completed. The company is ready to move into validation and testing stages, and patient enrollment for the studies was expected soon.

“We’re well-funded, and we’re doing great,” Cheskin said. “And we’re ready to move the product into the clinic, and hopefully into the market.” — Joseph Keenan, @FierceBiotech