This month, we focus on medical device developer Sight Sciences. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Sight Sciences’ founder and CEO, Paul Badawi.
Mr. Badawi, please tell us about your company in terms of its history and direction.
Sight Sciences is a private medical device company dedicated to the development and commercialization of medical devices that address unmet needs in eye care. Headquartered in Menlo Park, CA, with a commercial leadership team based in Southlake, TX, we are focused today on microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) and dry eye. We have almost 100 employees today, up from 10 two years ago.
Our company focuses on developing products that meet specific criteria: 1) address major unmet needs in eye care; 2) target the underlying causes of disease to restore the health of as much diseased anatomy as possible; 3) offer intelligently designed, user-friendly functionality that eye-care providers enjoy and procedures that they find straightforward to master and will regularly use; and 4) ensure that the economics of the clinical procedures work for all stakeholders, patients, eyecare providers and their facilities, and payors.
Tell us about any new products or new developments in which Sight Sciences is involved.
We first launched the Omni Surgical System into the MIGS category in 2018; it is growing well in the United States and is launching in a few key markets in Europe.
We launched the TearCare System into the dry eye space in early May. It is a software-controlled, in-office wearable eyelid technology that provides targeted and adjustable thermal energy to the meibomian glands to melt and clear hardened meibum. The first open-eye technology, TearCare is designed to leverage the mechanism of the blinking eye to naturally clear meibum from the glands. The goal of TearCare is to optimize the clearance of the meibomian glands to help them resume production of healthy, clear meibum, thereby restoring the integrity of the outermost lipid layer and treating the underlying cause of evaporative dry eye. Based on the market feedback received since launching TearCare, we plan to broaden its availability to eyecare professionals globally.
We have also begun enrollment in two pivotal clinical trials for TearCare and Omni to obtain clinical evidence in support of expanded labels for both products.
Tell us your vision for the dry eye field in the short term (less than 5 years) and in the long term (20 years from now).
In the next five years, I believe that there will be a shift toward more procedure-based treatments for dry eye. Today, only 2% to 3% of dry eye is treated procedurally; I think that number could grow 10-fold to 20% or 30% over the coming years. I believe that most practitioners will have incorporated a comprehensive dry eye treatment regimen into their practices, and dry eye centers of excellence will emerge that offer better molecular and imaging diagnostics, new therapeutic drops with novel mechanisms of action, and hopefully the first dry eye procedure that will be reimbursed broadly, an area in which we are working.
In 20 years, I unfortunately see an increase in the prevalence of dry eye due to ever-increasing screen time, which can substantially reduce blinking and in turn can accelerate the progression of meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye. Fortunately, as the prevalence of dry eye increases, investment into the sector will follow, which will result in more sensitive and specific diagnostics, highly targeted and more effective therapeutic eye drops, and an increase in the utilization of durable procedure-based treatments that could match or surpass the market share of daily therapeutic drops. Lastly, I believe that there will be a leading wearable consumer dry eye device for the eyelids. CLS