Sparking an insight on eyesight

January 17, 2017

By Jan Jarvis

Bill Burns

A decade ago, a Fort Worth startup began developing an eye drop that may literally change the way 100 million Americans who suffer from the blurry near vision of presbyopia see the world.

The huge insight on eyesight that Encore Vision President and CEO Bill Burns had 10 years ago is moving closer to becoming a reality with the recent announcement that Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis is acquiring the startup for an undisclosed amount.

Burns, whose company was helped by the TECH Fort Worth-UNT Health Science Center Acceleration Lab, said the Novartis acquisition “represents an important step in continuing the development of EV06 Ophthalmic Solution, a first-in-class treatment for the millions with quality-of-life limiting presbyopia.”

The drops are expected to provide relief from presbyopia, a common condition that typically occurs in middle to old age.

“There are no approved medical treatments for presbyopia,” Burns said. “There hasn’t been a great advancement since Ben Franklin invented bifocals. So it’s time.”

The drops work by reducing stiffness in the eye lens that occurs with aging. By restoring flexibility, the drops allow the lens to thicken in the center, making it easier to focus on nearby objects. Those who use the drops daily should be able to eliminate or reduce their use of glasses.
Virtually everyone over 45 experiences the condition, which makes it difficult to focus on objects, read and see small print. Until now the only treatment for the condition has been glasses and sometimes surgery.

Burns said the assistance he received from the TECH Fort Worth-UNTHSC Acceleration Lab in the early stages of development was a major asset.

“UNT Health Science Center played an instrumental role in Encore Vision research and development activities over the years,” Burns said. “Through the relationship between TECH Fort Worth and UNTHSC, Encore Vision was given access to laboratory space, faculty, the health science library and the opportunity to interact with experienced industry executives through the Executives in Residence program.”

Novartis said in a statement that the acquisition will add a first-in-class disease modifying topical treatment for presbyopia to its ophthalmology pipeline. Terms were not disclosed.
Encore Vision, which has been a UNTHSC Acceleration Lab client company for many years, is another success story for UNTHSC and its partnership with TECH Fort Worth, said Lawrence E. (Joe) Allred, PhD, Associate Vice President for Research & Innovation

Last year ZS Pharma was purchased by AstraZeneca for $2.7 million. ZS Pharma received help through the Accelerator Lab in the development of a deadly blood condition known as hyperkalemia.

Austin Fc
MPH Online helps inform one doctor’s MD and PhD studies

By Sally Crocker Dr. Austin G. Meyer was already working on both a PhD in biochemistry and a medical degree at other Texas universities when he decided to enroll in UNT Health Science Center’s Master of Public Health online program. “Medical school focuses primarily on anatomy and phy...Read more

Aug 21, 2018

2019 FC
TCOM Class of 2019 board exam scores highest in nation

By Alex Branch   The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2019 earned the highest score in the United States on a national board exam for future osteopathic doctors. The students’ mean test score of 592.93 was well above the national mean of 557.81 on the COMLEX-USA Level 1...Read more

Aug 15, 2018

Oneil Fc
Study: Private hospital rooms lower risk of infections

By Sally Crocker Private hospital rooms may save lives by reducing the risk of a dangerous type of hospital-acquired infection, according to UNT Health Science Center researchers in a new study published in PLOS ONE. Liam O’Neill, PhD, Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Sy...Read more

Aug 14, 2018

Roundup Fc
A healthy start to the school year

By Eric Parker   Life is hectic for parents in demanding, low-wage jobs. Peace of mind depends on easily accessible, free health services like those provided by the UNT Health Science Center at Thursday’s Back to School Roundup. One such parent is Erica Salinas. Her son, 8-year-old L...Read more

Aug 10, 2018