TORRANCE, Calif., March 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Oculogenex, a disruptive ocular gene therapy company, today announced that they won the first place prize at the international Winning Pitch Challenge – Retina 2021. The award was presented to Oculogenex by the directors of the competition, Dr. John Pollack and Dr. David Williams at the virtual event held on February 6, 2021. The event brought together retinal specialists, industry leaders, and investors from around the world to review the latest transformational technologies to treat unmet needs for patients suffering from retinal diseases. The award supports entrepreneurial retinal surgeons and their biotechnology start-ups to accelerate early therapeutic discovery and innovations with the strongest potential for the future benefit of patients, worldwide.
The Winning Pitch Challenge received entries that addressed novel treatments for various retinal diseases. The entries went through three rounds of selection after which three finalists participated in a "shark-tank" style competition. Oculogenex won the competition based upon the potential of their novel gene therapy to deliver therapeutic advances for dry age-related macular degeneration and geographic atrophy (the most common cause of vision impairment in the elderly with no current FDA approved therapy). Oculogenex was awarded $25,000 and exposure to a large pool of investors and pharmaceutical companies interested in collaborating and accelerating their product development.
First launched in September 2020, Oculogenex has rapidly progressed from concept to pre-clinical research and development. Early research data shows that their therapy protects retinal pigment epithelial cells from oxidative stress-induced cell death and regenerates a layer of the retina lost in macular degeneration. In addition to addressing the biochemical factors of dry macular degeneration, their therapy reduces VEGF-A levels, a key factor in wet macular degeneration development. "We are very pleased that Oculogenex has been recognized as a promising startup in the field and are working hard to deliver a solution to the millions of patients suffering from this devastating disease," said Dr. Hema Ramkumar, CEO. Oculogenex is conducting their cutting-edge ocular research and development operations as a member of BioLabs LA at The Lundquist Institute.
Oculogenex was founded by an ophthalmologist committed to developing better treatment options for people with blinding retinal diseases. The Oculogenex team is developing an intravitreal gene therapy to treat dry macular degeneration. Oculogenex intends to prevent blindness due to dry macular degeneration with a simple in-office treatment. The Oculogenex solution could dramatically improve the quality of life for millions of people by improving their visual function. For more information about Oculogenex, please visit www.oculogenex.com or LinkedIn.
About BioLabs LA
BioLabs is a membership-based network of shared lab facilities located in the nation's key biotech innovation clusters, designed exclusively for high-potential, early-stage life science companies. It offers co-working environments that pair premium, fully equipped, and supported lab and space with unparalleled access to capital and industry partners. BioLabs LA serves the South Bay of Los Angeles and partnered with The Lundquist Institute to bring class A space and support for early life science entrepreneurs to the region. Find out more at https://www.biolabs.io/la
About The Lundquist Institute: "Research with reach."™
The Lundquist Institute is an engine of innovation with a global reach and a 68-year reputation of improving and saving lives. With its new medical research building, its state-of-the-art incubator, "BioLabs at The Lundquist," existing laboratory and support infrastructure, and a 15-acre tech park in the planning stages, The Lundquist Institute serves as a hub for the Los Angeles area's burgeoning biotech scene. The research institute has over 100 principal investigators (Ph.D.s, M.D.s, and M.D./Ph.D.s) working on more than 600 research studies, including therapies for numerous, and often fatal orphan diseases. Find out more at https://lundquist.org.