Biotech's future: New delivery system for prescription eye drugs

Jade Therapeutics, a small business with funding from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research program, is solving a problem that has persisted in the ophthalmology and pharmacology industries for years: How to deliver medication to the eye in an easy and reliable way. In this video, Mary Jane Rafii, Jade Therapeutics COO, explains how the small business has engineered a technology that takes the form of a liquid, film or gel that can be loaded up with a medication, and then inserted into an eye where it will slowly release the medicine. In the future, a doctor could place the gel into a person’s eye, and that person could just go home. The platform delivers the drug without the need for eye drops or injections. The person wouldn't even feel the gel in their eye, even as the medication is being delivered, says Rafii. The gel technology is made from hyaluronic acid, a substance already present in the human body. This allows the gel to dissolve in the eye after it has fully administered the drug. One of the main challenges Jade Therapeutics faces is to design the gel to dissolve at different lengths of time. One eye disease may require the gel to remain in the eye for one day, while another may require it to remain for a month. In addressing that challenge, Rafii says the NSF grant "has been very good to us because it has helped us optimize that level of tailoring where we can go from a very quick dissolve…to a very much longer term." One key area in which this technology could be deployed is in war, where many injuries that occur happen in the eye.

Provided by the National Science Foundation

Runtime: 3:03

Get Science360's video of the day in your mailbox each weekday.

Sign up now!