Brien Holden Vision Institute is launching a series of Institute-owned commercial entities known as Brien Holden Vision companies, in Australia, China, India, U.S. and Europe. It is believed that these companies will bring to market beneficial, advanced products for myopia and myopia control, presbyopia, and for detection and management of potentially blinding eye disease.
The move is a significant one for the Institute, which for the past 20 years has largely funded its programs through research support of over a billion dollars (cash and in-kind) from Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) grants, collaborators and corporations; public health grants from the Australian and U.S. Governments, and royalties of over $250 million from successfully licensed products.
“The role of the commercial entities that we are establishing is to bring the Institute’s and collaborator-generated product technologies to market,” said Professor Brien Holden, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute.
“Brien Holden Vision Institute will remain a non-profit, non-commercial, science, translational research, licensing and humanitarian organisation. The Brien Holden Vision subsidiaries, however… will be resourced to be successful commercial companies that will support the Institute’s goals through revenue generation and product delivery.”
At least 25 per cent of profits and products generated from these commercial enterprises will be used to support the Institute’s humanitarian work while 75 per cent will be invested in new technologies.
Professor Holden said despite successfully researching with and licensing to major corporations, sales equating to $25 billion dollars from the products invented or co-invented have generated a 1 per cent return a relatively insignificant AU$250 million.
He said big companies were often more risk averse to investing in new ideas, even if they were pilot tested.
Professor Holden said he expected the first major products to be bought to market for trials in 2015. “Myopia control lenses, presbyopia contact and intraocular lenses (IOL) that provide excellent distance, intermediate and near vision without ghosting, and the gel IOL and related enabling technology, are our major products.”
The Institute’s second major product focus category is early detection and management of potentially blinding eye conditions associated with ocular and general health diseases.
“With the explosion in prevalence of diabetes there are greater numbers of people at risk of diabetic retinopathy,” said Professor Holden. “But with early detection and intervention much of the vision loss associated with this condition, and others, can be avoided… Our Retinal Imaging System developed by Professor Tom Cornsweet and colleagues at Brien Holden Vision Diagnostics, is a high resolution, tri-stimulus, self-focussing, stereoscopic retinal imaging camera that is easy to operate.
“When its algorithm-driven diagnostic capability is fully integrated with the camera’s high-quality imaging, automated operation and teleophthalmology capability, the Retinal Imaging System is intended to greatly expand the early detection and treatment of serious eye disease at all levels of vision care, at an affordable cost.
Brien Holden Vision Institute is also working towards commercial goals in India and China.