The Power List 2020 – Power List
President and Head of Santen EMEA
How is Santen addressing the biggest unmet needs in ophthalmology?
The prevalence of eye disease is on the rise, due to the worldwide trend of aging populations and factors attributed to modern lifestyles, such as increased use of screens. We are committed to protecting and preserving the precious sense of sight. But we are also aware that healthcare budgets are increasingly stretched, making it critical for us to illustrate that benefits seen from our glaucoma, dry eye, and allergy products in clinical trials are replicated in the daily lives of patients and that funds are well spent on these treatments. Patient access to our products is paramount, so we’re investing in real-world evidence studies, such as the VISIONARY study, which demonstrates that our glaucoma medicine, tafluprost/ timolol combination (Taptiqom®) is highly effective and well-tolerated, while preserving the ocular surface.1
What is the most exciting project Santen is working on?
As a specialised, global company in ophthalmology, we are constantly investigating how to advance, adapt and create technologies that benefit the eye health community.
In the immediate term, our new devices are now available and receiving excellent feedback. These include PRESERFLOTM MicroShunt, a minimally invasive surgical implant made of an innovative and bio-inert material to lower intraocular pressure, and the xactTM Mono-EDoFTM intraocular lens (IOL), a CE marked, monofocal, hydrophobic IOL with four diffractive rings, offering reduced dependence on glasses after cataract surgery.
We have recently established a number of exciting strategic partnerships. Santen is now the sole ophthalmology partner of the International Telecommunication Union, (a UN agency), WHO-led Be [email protected], Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative, to drive implementation of national health programmes and raise awareness of noncommunicable diseases in ophthalmology such as glaucoma, dry eye and cataract.
Our new joint venture with Verily, the life sciences and healthcare ‘sister company to Google’, is allowing us to work on developing unique and scalable software-based devices using artificial intelligence and microelectronics.
What should we expect from Santen over the next five years?
Santen has 130 years of heritage in ophthalmology, and is the only global company with this sole focus. We have the expertise and resources to explore rare diseases and under-resourced areas in ophthalmology, and we are deeply involved in a number of ongoing, earlystage research projects at the forefront of medical science. For example, our collaboration with Oxford Biomedica is focused on researching and developing gene therapy products for the treatment of inherited retinal diseases – diseases that disproportionally affect children and young adults, resulting in vision loss or blindness. We look forward to bringing this innovation, amongst others, to physicians and patients in the coming years.
1. F Oddone et al., Adv Ther (2020). PMID: 32072493.