Lead product uses TV shows to improve vision in children with lazy eye.
Investors include U.S. Venture Partners, ShangBay Capital, and Sony Innovation Fund.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Luminopia, Inc., a commercial-stage company pioneering a new class of treatments for neuro-visual disorders, today announced it has raised an additional $16M in new capital. U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) led the oversubscribed Series A financing round, with participation from new investor Broadfin Advisors, as well as support from existing investors, ShangBay Capital and Vertical Group. With the closing of the round, Casey Tansey, General Partner at USVP, will join Luminopia’s Board of Directors.
The funding will be used to support the full commercial rollout later this year of the company’s lead product, Luminopia, a software-based therapeutic for amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye,” the leading cause of vision loss among children. Luminopia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the De Novo pathway in October 2021 and is currently available for prescription-use only through eye care professionals. Luminopia is currently being prescribed at top eye institutes and private practices across the country and is dispensed through a retail pharmacy.
“U.S. Venture Partners is excited to support the team at Luminopia and be part of their journey as they seek to transform care and improve patient outcomes in an area of medicine that has seen relatively little innovation,” said Casey Tansey, General Partner at U.S. Venture Partners. “We believe in the transformative power of their technology and the passionate and experienced team leading the launch.”
Luminopia is indicated for improvement in visual acuity in children, aged 4-7 with amblyopia associated with anisometropia and/or with mild strabismus. Luminopia allows patients to watch therapeutically modified TV shows and movies to improve their vision within a virtual reality (VR) headset and is the first FDA-approved digital therapeutic for children with amblyopia. Luminopia is also unique among prescription digital therapeutics, as its mechanism of action has a direct treatment effect on patients’ vision. During the Phase 3 pivotal trial, Luminopia improved vision by 1.8 lines on an eye chart in three months.
“We are thrilled to announce the successful close of our oversubscribed Series A round, which will allow us to advance our mission of pioneering a new class of treatments for the 15 million Americans who suffer from neuro-visual disorders,” said Scott Xiao, Co-Founder and CEO of Luminopia. “This significant investment not only reinforces the potential of our clinically validated amblyopia treatment, but also enables us to bring the first new therapy in decades to patients across the U.S. We are grateful to our investors for their support and belief in our vision.”
“Luminopia has the potential to revolutionize the way we treat amblyopia,” said Dr. Rupa Wong, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, and Managing Partner of Honolulu Eye Clinic. “By combining virtual reality with popular children’s media content, this innovative approach offers an engaging and personalized therapy option for patients and families in need. Luminopia’s binocular mechanism of action is a welcome advancement over monocular treatment options like eye-patching, which penalize the stronger eye without teaching the eyes how to work together properly.”
Luminopia is the first FDA-approved1 digital therapeutic for a neuro-visual disorder, indicated to improve vision in children with amblyopia. With Luminopia, patients choose TV shows and movies to watch from a selection of 700+ hours of popular, engaging and educational content. Dual-acting algorithms modify the selected videos in real-time within a virtual reality (VR) headset to promote weaker eye usage and encourage patients’ brains to combine input from both eyes. Unlike conventional treatments like eye-patching, blurring (atropine) eye drops, and other digital therapies, which just penalize the stronger eye, Luminopia teaches patients to use both eyes together in a unique, binocular manner.
Luminopia has been validated through a series of clinical trials, including a Phase 3 pivotal trial that demonstrated its safety and efficacy in children aged 4-7 with amblyopia. The Phase 3 pivotal trial was the first successful, randomized, controlled trial of a novel amblyopia treatment in almost 15 years, and the results were published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Pilot studies have also shown efficacy in older children and adolescents, where eye-patching and blurring (atropine) eye drops are largely ineffective.
Indications for Use for Luminopia
Luminopia is a software-only digital therapeutic designed to be used with commercially available Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs), which are compatible with the software application. Luminopia is indicated for improvement in visual acuity in amblyopia patients, aged 4-7, associated with anisometropia and/or with mild strabismus, having received treatment instructions (frequency and duration) as prescribed by a trained eye-care professional. Luminopia is intended for both previously treated and untreated patients; however, patients with more than 12 months of prior treatment (other than refractive correction) have not been studied. Luminopia is intended to be used as an adjunct to full-time refractive correction, such as glasses, which should also be worn under the HMD during Luminopia therapy. Luminopia is intended for prescription use only, in an at-home environment.
Amblyopia, commonly referred to as lazy eye, is a medical condition characterized by reduced vision that cannot be explained by structural abnormalities alone. Often diagnosed in young children, amblyopia is driven by neurological deficits, which suppress the visual input from the weaker eye, leading to long-term deficits in vision. Amblyopia can be caused by a variety of different factors, including a refractive error such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism; strabismus, which is when one eye drifts; or rarely, cataracts or cloudiness in the lens. Amblyopia is the most common cause of vision loss in children and affects 3% of children worldwide. In addition, amblyopia is associated with a higher risk of lifetime bilateral vision loss and several mental health conditions including ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Current treatment options of eye-patching and blurring (atropine) eye drops are monocular approaches, which do not train the eyes to work together and are not sufficient in many cases to restore full visual function. Poor patient compliance and social stigmas also present significant challenges with existing treatment options.
About U.S. Venture Partners
U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) is a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, partnering with entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into world-changing companies. USVP has invested in over 500 companies spanning four decades, including: Arkose Labs, Box, Carrot Fertility, Cato Networks, Check Point Software, Guidewire, Happy Returns, HeartFlow, HotelTonight, Human Interest, Imperva, Inari Medical, Inspire Medical Systems, Intersect ENT, Kenna, Medigate, Omada Health, Pluto TV, Standard Bariatrics, ThreatMetrix, Trunk Club, Trusteer, Yammer and Zerto. USVP focuses on early-stage start-ups that transform cybersecurity, enterprise software, consumer and healthcare. The USVP team consists of former entrepreneurs, technologists, corporate executives, and financial professionals who assist with strategy, scaling, team building, product development, and business development. USVP is based in Menlo Park, California.
About Luminopia, Inc.
Luminopia, Inc. is pioneering a new class of treatments for significant neuro-visual disorders. Luminopia is committed to creating digital therapeutics that are both rigorously evaluated for FDA approval and genuinely engaging for patients. As an Innovation Partner of Boston Children’s Hospital*, the company is developing its lead product to improve vision in children with amblyopia, the leading cause of vision loss among children. For more information, visit luminopia.com.
LUMINOPIA is a trademark of Luminopia, Inc.
*Boston Children’s Hospital holds equity in Luminopia. David Hunter, MD, Ph.D., Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital is an advisor to Luminopia and holds equity.
1 De Novo granted in Oct 2021, 510(k) clearance in Nov 2022 to expand the list of compatible headsets.