Novartis acquires digital therapeutics specialist Amblyotech

By Jenni Spinner contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Chainarong Prasertthai)
(Image: Getty/Chainarong Prasertthai)

Related tags: Novartis, acquisition, Therapy

The pharmaceutical firm has purchased the company, which specializes in advancing treatments and diagnostics for ocular disorders.

Based in Phoenix, AZ, Amblyotech has sold all of its outstanding shares to Novartis, a pharmaceutical firm headquartered in Switzerland. After completing the acquisition, Novartis announced it plans to build upon Amblyotech’s development of novel digital technology for treating amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye.”

Expanding reach

Joseph Koziak, CEO of Amblyotech, said the acquisition of his company by the pharmaceutical giant will enable potential amblyopia therapies to reach a larger number of people.

"We believe Novartis is best positioned to maximize the opportunity for our amblyopia treatment to reach and help patients who suffer from this condition. The Amblyotech technology has the potential to be a first-in-class product for patients with this debilitating condition​," he said.

Also, Amblyotech COO Robert Derricotte said the purchase will enable to take advantage of Novartis’s resources.

"The acquisition by Novartis provides the Amblyotech technology with the opportunity to immediately benefit from Novartis's expertise in clinical development, regulatory and commercialization to help the portfolio reach its full potentia​l," he said.

High-tech treatment

Amblyotech's treatment approach involves use of active gaming and passive video technology, with 3D glasses that essentially train a patient’s eyes to work together, leading to a therapeutic effect.

The software incorporates a visual presentation method called ‘dichoptic display,’ in which each eye is presented with a different image using a proprietary algorithm to obtain co-operation with both eyes working together to view a full image.

According to the company, Amblyotech's software in early clinical trials demonstrated improvements in vision in both children and adults, with faster onset compared to standard of care treatments.

Now that the acquisition is complete, Novartis said it intends to collaborate with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Ubisoft Entertainment SA to continue product development. Robert Hess, director of the McGill Vision Research Unit, said the two companies share similar attitudes and missions around ocular patients.

"Amblyotech and Novartis share the same sense of urgency to dramatically improve the lives of patients suffering from amblyopia and other ocular conditions​," he said.

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