This month, we focus on Tangible Science, a Silicon Valley-based company that aims to develop products that improve the patient and practitioner experience with contact lenses. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Tangible Science’s President and CEO, Vic McCray, MD.
Dr. McCray, please tell us about your company in terms of its history and direction.
Tangible Science was founded in 2011 as a spin out from the Stanford Biodesign program that focused on identifying clinical problems and building teams suited to address them. In the year that led up to the company founding, we were focused in ophthalmology and identified a significant clinical problem related to contact lens comfort. Our team subsequently developed our first technology, a coating to effectively “hide” the lens from the eye that we called Tangible Hydra-PEG, to address it.
We try to identify areas in which we can help patients who may be overlooked by other companies and focus on where we could have the greatest impact.
Tell us about any new products or new developments in which Tangible Science is involved.
Our flagship product is Tangible Hydra-PEG, a polymer coating that can be applied to any contact lens technology to improve the interaction between the lens material and the surface of the eye, thereby improving comfort. We launched Tangible Hydra-PEG initially on custom GP lenses with the help and support of Contamac and all of our lab partners. We are proud that Tangible Hydra-PEG is now an option for practitioners to consider on virtually every GP lens material and virtually every design. Today, practitioners are using our coating not only to improve general comfort, but also to address dry eye and lens adaptation, prevent fogging and deposits, and more.
We recently launched Tangible Clean, a daily cleaning, disinfecting, and soaking multipurpose solution designed to protect the coating on GP lenses. It is also approved for use with any GP lens. We have another product in review at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called Tangible Boost. It is a conditioning solution using proprietary polymers from Tangible Hydra-PEG that patients can use once a month to help rebuild the coating and its benefits for the prescribed life of the lens. We plan to launch this product at the beginning of next year.
We now have a suite of hydrogel and silicone hydrogel lenses that leverage the polymer technology of Tangible Hydra-PEG. The first of these, the SimplifEyes daily disposable hydrogel lens, was launched in partnership with and is available through SynergEyes. We have several other disposable lens products that will be brought to market in the near future.
Tell us your vision for the contact lens field in the short term (less than 5 years) and in the long term (20 years from now).
In the next five years, I think that we will see broader application for custom lenses in the therapeutic space. We’re already seeing this with scleral lenses being used to treat significant ocular surface disease and provide benefits to patients that go far beyond refractive correction. Myopia control will be another big area as we learn more about the designs and technology and are better able to integrate those designs into certain materials.
Over the next 20 years, tech companies will increasingly move into the contact lens space as a way of changing how people interact with their environment, whether it’s augmented reality, medical technologies, or gaming. There are many different technologies that can be and are being integrated into contact lenses that will completely change the target market beyond just refractive correction or the medical treatment of ocular surface disease. CLS