Johnson & Johnson Invests in Refractive Technology Start-up TECLens

Johnson & Johnson Invests in Refractive Technology Start-up TECLens

Finding opportunities to bring cutting-edge innovation to address the world’s most pressing eye health issues is a key driver behind how Johnson & Johnson operates.

A recent investment in a start-up, TECLens, has tremendous potential when it comes to refractive vision correction.

TECLens is an early-stage innovator with a mission to disrupt the refractive surgery market. Recently, Johnson & Johnson closed a transaction to co-lead the Series A funding of TECLens.i The start-up is developing a novel, non-incisional refractive correction procedure that leverages a technique known as corneal cross-linking (CXL) to reshape the cornea. Through synergies between J&J’s storied expertise in eye health and TECLens’ early innovations in ophthalmology technologies, this investment creates exciting possibilities in the future of the refractive market.  

Incisionless Corneal Cross-linking  

The TECLens approach is attractive to both patients and physicians for a multitude of reasons. Whereas most current treatments to reshape the cornea require laser-ablation or invasive surgery, TECLens utilizes a non-invasive treatment by incorporating quantitative corneal crosslinking (qCXL) technology and a CXLens® device.ii  

TECLens’ proprietary therapy delivers UV-light directly to the eye from a fiber optic-connected scleral contact lens. Patients receive a treatment that uses a computationally optimized UV pattern and a dose of riboflavin (vitamin B2) that is customized for each eye. The correction effect is monitored in real-time with ultrasound and the result is enhanced precision of the patient’s outcome. 

This new technology currently in clinical development means possible relief for a wider range of patients – particularly those who are not good candidates for other refractive solutions or those who are looking for alternative solutions to traditional refractive surgeries. TECLens aims to deliver a comfortable, non-invasive, office-based treatment that is both repeatable and titratable.

Rendering of TECLens treatment with CXLens® device 

Promising Feedback from Eye Care Professionals

Dr. Juan Batlle, Jr., a participant in the successful keratoconus pilot clinical study, said, “The CXLens device is easy to use and is well tolerated by patients. For the first time I have been able to perform corneal collagen cross-linking with minimal to no discomfort following the procedure, and yet have been able to see significant improvement in both visual and refractive outcomes while stabilizing patients’ corneal ectasia.”

Compared to alternative CXL treatments, TECLens’ innovations are designed to be miniaturized, personalized and more targeted to the unique needs of each patient. The technology supports patients as their eyes mature and potentially become cataract patient candidates for presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses (PC-IOLs), an option that may not have been available to them without the TECLens procedure.  

Future Outlook for Refractive Correction and Presbyopia

While TECLens will target presbyopia as its initial indication, there is the exciting possibility of expansion into keratoconus, low-order myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. TECLens is currently planning the first refractive correction clinical studies of its one-time vision correction treatment.

An Investment in Impactful Early Innovation  

J&J is creating a future where healthcare solutions are smarter, less invasive and more personalized. TECLens’ mission is in line with that future.  

Tom Dunlap, CEO of TECLens said, “This is an important and exciting partnership of our ground-breaking technology and J&J’s decades of leadership in eye health. Together with J&J and our financing partners, we will be able to make a significant positive impact on non-invasive vision correction for so many individuals.”

As Johnson & Johnson is a global leader in eye health, the investment in TECLens supports its bold ambition of Vision Made Possible. Globally, at least 1 billion people have near or distance vision impairment that could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed.  “As a company dedicated to making vision possible for more than 40 million people every year, fostering early innovation, partnering with experts, and leveraging new technology is how we’ll continue to improve outcomes for patients.” said Peter Menziuso, Company Group Chairman, Vision, J&J.  

This investment in the early-stage start-up demonstrates J&J’s commitment to innovation in ophthalmology and broadening its portfolio of refractive technologies. The TECLens investment is aligned with Johnson & Johnson’s mission to invest in opportunities that will transform the patient experience. For the millions of people worldwide who are affected by presbyopia and other vision correction needs, the chance for better vision may now be closer than ever. 

i The transaction was closed by Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC Inc.), the strategic venture capital arm of Johnson & Johnson.
ii CXLens® device is not approved by health authorities. TECLens has successfully tested the device in keratoconus patients and is currently planning the first refractive correction clinical studies.