SBIR Phase I: Contact lens with innovative nanoparticles for multi-week, controlled delivery of glaucoma drugs

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynthera Corporation
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to create a commercially feasible, drug-releasing contact lens for treatment of glaucoma. Glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible vision loss worldwide, was estimated to affect 64 million people world-wide in 2013. This is expected to rise to approximately 112 million affected individuals by 2040. The primary treatment is topical eye drops that patients must self-administer at least once per day. These eye drops provide a very short (a few minutes) burst of drug exposure to the cornea, with more than 90% of the drug being washed away. Furthermore, poor patient compliance with this tedious daily application accounts for substantial worsening of disease and increased healthcare costs. This SBIR project will develop a new glaucoma treatment standard that overcomes the many shortfalls of topical eye drops, resolving issues of drug absorption and patient compliance with targeted and controlled drug delivery (better absorption) and extended wear (less tedious, better compliance). If successful, this approach could serve as a platform technology for innovating future ocular treatments. The proposed project solves key issues that currently hinder the adequate pharmaceutical treatment of ocular diseases such as glaucoma. The goal of this SBIR project is to utilize specially designed drug-carrying nanoparticles to achieve a near constant rate of delivery from a contact lens to the cornea. These "smart" nanoparticles, which will be integrated into contact lens formulations, will respond to the microenvironment of the tear film to trigger a sustained release of the drug. Comparing with the common eye drops, the glaucoma treatment via contact lens is anticipated to achieve a sustainable drug delivery at a near constant rate, higher bioavailability (much higher than 5%), and with substantially reduced risk of unintended systemic toxicity.