The forum was held on 11 September 2014 in London.
“There is going to be a greater retina focus in this year’s meeting than last year’s, but that’s only a portion of the program,” meeting co-chair Kuldev Singh, MD, MPH, told Ocular Surgery News. “There’s still a very large cataract, cornea and anterior segment, as well as glaucoma and pharma, presence at the meeting.”
The meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 11, at the East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London, preceding the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting.
The forum strives to create a place for people, who may otherwise not have resources or connections for support, to present their ideas for advancing the field, according to Singh. There is no fee for presenters.
“We are essentially supporting innovation,” he said. “In a sense, we’re a clearinghouse for people who need help with developing ideas. In addition, we offer a series of panels that allow people to learn about the needs of the various partners involved in advancing ophthalmology care. … We think our process is a peer-reviewed process of evaluating companies to see what their potential is and giving the stage to those who have the best ideas to address unmet needs.”
To help promote ideas, the meeting will introduce a new element this year called “Shark Tank.”
“This session will be based on the popular TV show. CEOs will present their company’s business models to a panel of ‘sharks’ who will offer comments and critique using their wealth of experience,” meeting co-chair Keith Barton, MD, FRCP, FRCS, FRCOphth, said.
The format of the session will be the same as the TV show, in which people pitch ideas to a panel of professionals with resources or skills to help evolve the ideas.
“The Shark Tank is a way for early-stage companies to come to a group of people who are experienced in either buying companies or supporting companies that have an interest in partnering with individuals with new ideas. Ideas are then evaluated with the potential of a deal being made in that setting,” Singh said.
In addition to the Shark Tank, a new discussion panel will be showcased at the meeting.
“This year, we will be introducing a discussion panel on stem cells and gene therapy, we will be focusing on European regulatory issues, and we will be seeing more retinal biotech companies present from the podium,” Barton said.
Session topics include cataract/refractive, diagnostics and imaging, myopia, stem cells and genetics, pharmaceuticals and retina.
“We have discussions on the business aspect of advancing the field as well as regulatory aspects,” Singh said. “We also have an interest in using technology to develop better eye care in developing countries — using better technology to improve the delivery of health care in underserved populations throughout the world.”
“I am personally very much looking forward to welcoming our guests to London and bringing the forum to the hub of European investment that is Canary Wharf,” Barton said.