The fourth Ophthalmology Technology Summit (OTS), was held June 21st at the Center Club in Costa Mesa, Calif. During the past three years OTS has grown to a large platform with great participation (225) from opinion leaders, industry, and clinicians all gathering to discuss relevant and innovative ideas in ophthalmology. It was sponsored by OCTANe which has connected people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology growth in Orange County for over 7 years. Its members represent Orange County technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians, and strategic advisors—–
• Working to stimulate technology job growth and wealth creation in Orange County
• Helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into successful businesses
• Helping companies connect with funding, growth resources, and strategic partners
• Help senior executives access intelligence, new technologies, and talent
• Helping develop new technology business leaders
This event included a keynote featuring David Pyott, former CEO of Allergan, who was interviewed by Jim Mazzo, CEO of AcuFocus. Both have known each other for some time and have interacted with key people in ophthalmology. Here we learned that we must listen to potential markets, keep it simple, use only small committees, focus, and grow at a reasonable rate. This was followed by several panel discussions:
• Emerging technologies affecting efficiency and patient outcomes
o Moderated by Clay Wilemon, CEO & chief strategy officer, DevicePharm
Emerging technologies must look for unmet needs, be aware of technology advances, consider cost/benefit, be aware of patient expectations, be aware of reimbursement and payer issues, be willing to work, develop valuable intellectual property, and keep it simple for the user.
• Research and consolidation in new practices
o Moderated by Ehsan Sadri, M.D., FACS
There seems to be a trend to develop larger practices to offer more from one location. This enables shared technologies and facilities, more efficiency, multiple specializations, and job sharing for families with small children.
• New technologies and the role of internal and external research and development
o Moderated by Jim Mazzo, CEO & chairman, AcuFocus
It is becoming more expensive to fund new projects–$3-5M for 510k, $50-90M for PMA, and drug development can be on the order of $4B. Successes offer new R&D possibilities, but many times only 7% of income will be used for new product development. That may be why strategic partnering with small companies can be more efficient to focus on new products. New products need to be value driven, but there can still be significant technical risk. In such a case a project should be allowed to fail early if there are not enough resources to get it to market.
• Investment opportunities in ophthalmology
o Moderated by Chris Cooley, managing director, Stephens Inc.
Early stage investments have been down, venture deals are up, and growth in ophthalmology is continuing. As a result it remains a promising space for investment. There is a need for more efficiency in startups—early development of management team, do not miss milestones, reduce risk, use multiple sources of funding, and keep building access to capital with strategic partnering.
During the panels I saw themes develop like—Focus—Simplify—Grow—-Move Fast. Since OC
Is a global epicenter of innovation for new products and services in ophthalmology, OCTANe has launched an investment fund, Visionary Ventures, which invests in ophthalmic companies such as IanTech and Mynosys —-screened by their LaunchPad accelerator.