Washington Patent of the Month – March 2023

Acucela Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kubota Pharmaceutical Holdings Co., Ltd. (Tokyo 4596), is committed to translating innovation into a diverse portfolio of drugs and devices to preserve and restore vision for millions of people worldwide. Their development pipeline includes drug candidates and therapeutics for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, AMD, Stargardt disease, cataract and presbyopia. The company is also developing a monitoring device for neovascular retinal diseases, to be used directly by patients. This latter project has recently been granted a patent. 

The eye is a critical organ for vision, and the retina plays a crucial role in the transmission of electrical signals to the brain. Unfortunately, many eye diseases can affect vision.

Retinal thickness is a significant parameter that can indicate the health of the retina. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a technique used to measure retinal thickness, but many existing OCT systems are complex and expensive, making in-home monitoring difficult.

Acucela has developed a compact OCT system that allows for in-home and mobile monitoring of retinal thickness. The system is lightweight, portable, and easy to use, making it accessible for patients to monitor their eye health on a daily or weekly basis. The system comprises a series of light sources, each with a different spectral range, that can be activated in series to measure the retina with multiple light beams. The measurement signals from each light beam can be combined to increase resolution.

One of the unique features of Acucela’s compact OCT system is its ability to measure changes in retinal thickness that are smaller than the system’s axial resolution value, enabling it to detect even minor changes in retinal thickness. The system is also calibrated for each patient based on retinal thickness measured with a clinical reference system, ensuring accuracy.

The compact OCT system is a game-changer for the management of eye diseases. Patients can now monitor their eye health in the comfort of their own homes, without the need for frequent visits to healthcare providers. The system is also suitable for mobile healthcare, making it accessible for patients who live in remote areas. The compact OCT system is just one example of Acucela’s commitment to developing new medical technologies that improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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