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Economic Impact

Commercial and Economic Outcomes of SERI Inventions

Myopine
Myopine, SERI/SNEC’s low dose atropine product for treatment of childhood myopia, has been developed in Singapore via the ATOM trials over the past 15 years. This treatment has been successfully commercialised, and is now available to patients in multiple countries throughout Asia (including patients from both public and private sectors in Singapore), as well as countries in the European Union (EU).
We are currently in negotiations with multiple parties to expand the distribution of Myopine to other parts of the world. We’re aiming for Myopine to become a dominant and widely-recognised low dose atropine product in Asia and other parts of the world.


Peregrine Ophthalmic

Peregrine Ophthalmic, a Singapore-based start-up company, was set up in 2013 and backed by local investors to develop and commercialise Lipolat (nanoliposomal latanoprost, initially co-developed by SERI and NTU), a sustained release formulation for the treatment of glaucoma. The product is currently in its clinical development stage.


SinSa Laboratories

SinSa Laboratories was set up in Singapore to further develop and commercialise the antimicrobial portfolio that was initially developed in the laboratory of Prof Roger Beuerman. The technology, which is licensed from SERI & Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), consists of small peptides and organic molecules that are able to kill bacteria and fungi in a significantly faster timeframe when compared to current antibiotics. SinSa’s mission is to develop effective pharmacological therapies for infectious diseases, and substantially reduce the dramatic negative effects that these diseases have in the developing and developed world. SinSa’s products are also currently in the clinical development stage.


PLANO

PLANO, the first spinoff from the SNEC Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator, is backed up by local angel investors to commercialise an innovative mobile application which enables better parental management of smart device use in children. PLANO is currently available in Singapore and can be downloaded for free on the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store. The app developers plan to expand PLANO’s availability to other countries in the region, in the near future.


EndoGlide

The EndoGlide is a surgical corneal donor inserter, devised specifically for a new corneal transplant procedure known as Descemets Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). DSAEK is currently responsible for the major shift in corneal transplantation in Singapore and other countries, which has been shown to lead to improved transplant outcomes.

Prior to the EndoGlide, corneal transplant frequently resulted in 60% corneal cell loss during surgery and transplant “rejection”. After the EndoGlide was adopted, corneal cell loss has reduced from 60% to 15%, and corneal transplant outcomes have improved by over 50%. The EndoGlide is now used in over 31 countries, with over 12,000 transplants conducted with it worldwide.

The EndoGlide is the world’s first disposable donor corneal tissue inserter, and it can be used for a wide range of tissue thicknesses (20-200 um). Clinical data for the past five years indicate that EndoGlide has shown the lowest endothelial cell loss (best in class) in its device type. More than 10 clinical studies involving the EndoGlide have been performed in Singapore, the UK, Brazil, Japan, Greece, Poland and several other countries, and over 15,000 EndoGlide devices have been sold in 31 countries to date.


OptoAid Eye Drop Guide

Many elderly people face difficulties in positioning and administering medication into their eyes – which results in wastage and additional financial costs. At SNEC, some of our patients have purchased 3 times more medication than necessary in a month because they cannot administer their medications successfully. Studies have also found that most elderly patients experience difficulties, or are frequently unsuccessful at self-instillation attempts. Finally, many elderly patients may face difficulty in understanding medicine labels, which may affect the final effectiveness of the medications that they were prescribed.

To solve this problem, a team at SNEC developed OptoAid - a novel eye drop assistive device designed to fit eye drop bottles and minims (single doses) of various shapes and sizes. When tested at SNEC, the device successfully helped patients distil eye drops without the need of any assistance, prevented accidental over-dosage of eye medications which may cause medical complications, and reduced wastage due to the misplacement of eye medicines.

This product is currently open to interested licensees for international sales.


Singapore Eye Lesion Analyzer (SELENA)

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease. There were 415 million people worldwide who have diabetes, and this number is projected to increase to 642 million in 2040. Diabetic retinopathy (DR), a major side effect of diabetes caused by “leaky” blood vessels in the retina, is a leading cause of vision loss. To prevent DR-related visual impairment, early detection via screening and prompt treatment are necessary.

Retinal photography is the most common and cost-effective DR screening method, where photographs of retinal scans are assessed and graded by trained eye doctors, optometrists, or professional graders. With increasing numbers of diabetics worldwide, the manual assessment of millions of photographs will become unsustainable in the future.

SERI’s research team, in collaboration with the NUS School of Computing, has developed a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) system to automatically assess retinal photographs and replace human graders, which can significantly reduce public health care costs while maintaining its standards.

This technology incorporates superior AI-based algorithms, which were based on the largest dataset of Asian eyes in the world. The new algorithms were able to reach over 90% sensitivity/specificity for referable DR cases and massively upscale current DR screening capabilities.

The technology is currently undergoing side-by-side clinical validation in order to facilitate its integration into the Singapore Diabetic Retinopathy Programme (SiDRP). It has been licensed to a multi-national firm specialising in imaging in a deal covering major global markets, and has since received substantial enquiries from multiple private entities for licensing.


Santen Strategic Collaboration

Our promising internally-developed technologies and established reputation among international eye research organisations have drawn an increasing number of industrial partners, large and small, to partner with us on research collaborations.

The most notable collaboration we have entered to date is the 5-year, S$37M research collaboration with Santen Pharmaceuticals which started in 2017. This strategic collaboration covers a wide range of preclinical and clinical research activities at SERI/SNEC, and a joint SERI-Santen lab has been operating within the SERI laboratories at the Academia building on the SGH Campus.