Novartis plans to accelerate the development of digital technology for the treatment of amblyopia, having acquired the US software start-up Amblyotech.
It is estimated that amblyopia affects roughly 3% of the global population, some of whom could be appropriate candidates for this therapy if approved.1 The condition can lead to poor vision and other quality of life issues if left untreated.2 It can impact children and adults beyond their vision, making it difficult to drive and maintain a sense of autonomy. Current treatment options, including patching and/ or atropine, are associated with low compliance and low success rates.3 Approved therapies for adults are limited.
Designed to enhance compliance, Amblyotech uses active gaming and passive video technology with 3-D glasses, training the eyes to work together to view an image in full. Its software employs a dichoptic display, where each eye is presented with different images using a proprietary algorithm. In early clinical studies, Amblyotech’s software demonstrated improvements in vision in both children and adults with faster onset compared to standard of care treatments.4
Novartis said it will work in partnership with video game developer, Ubisoft, to develop the Amblyotech software as a medical device (SaMD), create a series of engaging games for the device, and conduct a proof of concept study, planned for later in 2020.
- Narinesingh C, Wan W, et al. Amblyopia: A Study Using the McGurk Effect. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 2014;55:3158-3164.
- National Eye Institute. Amblyopia. https://www.nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/FactsAbout_AMBLYOPIA_2015.pdf Accessed November 8, 2019.
- Nucci P, Alfarano R, Piantanida A, et al. Compliance in antiamblyopia occlusion therapy. Acta Ophthalmol (Copenh). 1992;70:128-131. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.1992.tb02104.x.
- Kelly KR, Jost RM, et al. Binocular iPad Game vs Patching for Treatment of Amblyopia in Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2016;134(12):1402-1408.