Pantheon Vision has launched with $2.5m in seed funding to develop bioengineered corneal implants to treat corneal blindness.

The US-based ophthalmic device company was established by the non-profit KeraLink International. Pantheon aims to use bioengineered corneal implants to treat corneal implants to eradicate corneal blindness in developed and low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Corneal blindness refers to a group of eye disorders that change the corneal transparency, causing corneal scarring and blindness. It can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. It is the fourth leading cause of blindness as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

The implants are expected to provide a suitable substitute for the donated corneal tissue, thereby, reducing the reliance on donors. Other approaches to developing corneal implants include 3D-printed artificial cornea

The global market for persistent corneal epithelial defect management is currently valued at $8.5bn, as per GlobalData AI hub. The market is expected to grow at an 18% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2033, reaching a valuation of $44.49bn.

Dr John Sheets, the former head of the Office of Device Evaluation at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has been appointed as the head of Pantheon.

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“Development of novel therapeutic solutions is costly but critical to fulfilling our mission of eradicating corneal blindness,” said KeraLink’s board chairman Douglas J Furlong.

“We are proud to support Pantheon Vision’s promising work and anticipate a return on this investment that will allow us to fund additional innovative products, technologies, and services.”