Lead product uses TV shows to improve vision in children with lazy eye, backed by ShangBay Capital, Sony Innovation Fund and The Vertical Group
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Luminopia, Inc., a prescription digital therapeutics company pioneering a new class of treatments for neuro-visual disorders, today announced an oversubscribed $5.7M seed extension financing round. ShangBay Capital led the round, with participation from Sony Innovation Fund, The Vertical Group, and SSI Strategy, as well as support from existing investors. With the closing of the round, William Dai, Founding Managing Partner of ShangBay Capital, will be joining Luminopia’s Board of Directors.
The company will be using the funding for a staged rollout of its lead product for amblyopia to pediatric ophthalmologists starting this month, before expanding to a broader launch in the second half of 2023. The Luminopia therapeutic is a clinically validated digital therapy to improve vision in children with amblyopia (lazy eye), the leading cause of vision loss among children, and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the De Novo pathway in October 2021. Upon launch, the therapeutic will be prescribed by eye care professionals and distributed through an online retail pharmacy.
“Luminopia’s FDA-approved digital therapy for amblyopia is supported by robust clinical evidence and will be a game-changer for patients, parents, and physicians in need,” said William Dai, Founding Managing Partner of ShangBay Capital. “Thanks to Luminopia’s strong leadership team and cutting-edge technology, the company is uniquely positioned to deliver on the promise of digital therapeutics in amblyopia and beyond.”
“Sony Ventures believes in the power of technology to help transform healthcare. With an experienced team and FDA-approved technology, Luminopia is well-positioned to bring much needed advancement to the treatment of amblyopia,” said Austin Noronha, Managing Director-US, Sony Ventures.
Amblyopia (lazy eye) is a disease area that hasn’t seen innovation is nearly two decades. The Luminopia therapeutic is indicated for improvement in visual acuity in children with amblyopia, aged 4-7, 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. It also stands out among prescription digital therapeutics, as Luminopia delivers a direct therapeutic effect in patients, as opposed to being a behavioral intervention.
“We are thrilled to welcome the support of several new top-tier investors across healthcare and technology as we enter our next chapter as a company,” said Scott Xiao, Chief Executive Officer of Luminopia, Inc. “We look forward to bringing a novel treatment option for amblyopia to patients and families in need, as part of our broader mission to pioneer a new class of treatments for neuro-visual disorders.”
Luminopia is the first FDA-approved1 digital therapeutic for a neuro-visual disorder in children, 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. Proprietary 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. 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 ShangBay Capital
ShangBay Capital is a leading medical technology focused venture capital firm based in Palo Alto, California founded in 2015. The venture firm focuses on early to mid-stage investments in medical technology, biotechnology, and digital health investments. Since its inception, ShangBay has invested in 57 portfolio companies and has had multiple successful exits to date. The team has a combined 200 years of experience in industry, entrepreneurship and as executives of leading global healthcare organizations. ShangBay has been ranked as the #1 Most Active New Device VC across the U.S. and Europe by Silicon Valley Bank for 2020 and 2021.
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 list of compatible headsets.