A company with a device to detect early onset of age-related macular degeneration by measuring how patients adapt to darkness is raising $4 million in a series A financing round to bring the device to market.
John Edwards, the CEO of Apeliotus Vision Science, said in an emailed response to questions that the company is currently in the process of finishing up the transfer-to-production for its AdaptDx dark adaptometer and will launch a promotional campaign this fall in the run-up to a formal product launch sometime at the end of the year or early 2013.He added the company has selected Inteprod in Eagleville, Pennsylvania as its contract manufacturer and Zer0 to 5ive of Devon, Pennsylvania as its marketing agency.
Apeliotus Vision Science’s diagnostic test, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, is based on research indicating that losing the ability to adapt to the dark is one of the first symptoms of age-related macular degeneration. The AdaptDX dark adaptometer is a computer-automated machine. The patient has to look at a steady dim red light and a dim flash of light appears below that light. As the test progresses, increasingly dimmer flashes of light appear. The computer tracks the least amount of light a person can detect in the 20 minute test.
The Georgia-based company is a spinout of Apeliotus Technologies, another Georgia-based company that develops and commercializes medical devices based on university inventions. It has an office in the Hershey Center for Applied Research and its chief science officer, Greg Jackson, is on staff at the Penn State Hershey Eye Center. The technology for the test was licensed from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but early detection of the disease, which generally occurs after 50, is critical to avoid or at least delay the onset of blindness. Frost & Sullivan estimates the market for macular degeneration is $7 billion, but that figure includes diagnosis and treatment.