JULY 8th, 2005
Soon, one may just put a pair of eyeglass- like devices on when
the cell phone rings. One will then be all set to play a lively video game with a far away friend or have a serious video
teleconference with a business partner. With Kopin’s nanotechnology based microdisplays, Orange’s video service,
MicroOptical’s Kopin-enabled eyewear and Samsung’s cell phone one may have all that one needs to both work and
play in the modern world.
In this scenario, of the not to distant future, one will be delivered
movies, TV, photos, web sites or perhaps games through Orange SA mobile video service, then see the results with virtual big-screen
eyewear provided by MicroOptical Corporation. The infrastructure is just about there. The recent order from MicroOptical for
Kopin’s CyberDisplay 230 K microdisplays will provide the necessary hardware component to get the production lines moving.
Orange SA, a unit of French Telecom, which already has 52 million
customers in 16 countries, will bundle together the complete package. That package will include MicroOptical binocular video
eyewear and Samsung’s SGH-D600 cell phone as the “Orange World” wireless multimedia service. The complete
system has already been demonstrated at the European Research and Innovation Exhibition in Paris and will be available to
Orange’s customers in October of 2005.
Will the product be a hit? The dual eye display, consisting of quarter-inch
diagonals provides a 12 inch big screen virtual image. The eyewear itself only weighs 2.5 ounces. The device does accept composite
video input (NTSC or PAL), so the eyewear can be plugged into devices such as DVD players, and even perhaps screenless portable
Future applications may include special eyeglasses to adjust for
even the most severe vision problems. MicroOptical also has a strategic alliance with Essilor International, a company with
over 25,000 employees, for ophthalmic eyewear devices. Essilor manufactured over 180 million lenses in 2004.
JULY 8th, 2005
Sirna Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:RNAI), a company that has taken
a RNAi approach to solve medical problems, reports that it has completed the initial closing of a $28.01 private placement
of its common stock and warrants. Venture capitalists included Sprout Group, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Venrock Associates.
The funds are planned to further the development of Sirna-027 in AMD (age-related macular degeneration). The funding is
also expected to go towards two preclinical programs involving Hepatitis C and Dermatology.
JUNE 10th, 2005
Efficient DNA Drug Delivery System Developed for Eye Diseases
Copernicus Therapeutics, Inc. reported very positive results on its DNA drug delivery system
based on its non-viral nucleic acid nanoparticle technology. These results indicated that its gene transfer system has a efficiency
ten times greater for introducing DNA into the cells of the retina than other competing systems. Dr. David Yurek at the University
of Kentucky and Dr. Muna Naash at the University of Oklahoma presented the results at the American Society of Gene Therapy
Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.
Commenting about the findings was Dr. Mark J. Cooper, Sr. Vice President
of Science and Medical Affairs at Copernicus, "We are most enthusiastic about these findings. Gene transfer in the brain of
animals was highly efficient and non-toxic, suggesting multiple treatment options for serious neurological disorders such
as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. In the eye, a remarkable 99% gene transfer efficiency in the retina was observed.
Treatment of important causes of blindness, including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and
various viral infections may be possible using our nanoparticle technology."
Elaborating on the possibility for the treatment of more diseases
was Dr. Robert C. Moen, President and CEO of Copernicus, "These findings further demonstrate the platform nature of our nucleic
acid delivery technology which enables us to develop therapeutics for different parts of the body and for multiple diseases.
Our lead program, which already has had a successful clinical trial, involves developing a therapy for a serious disease affecting
the lung, cystic fibrosis."
MAY 19th, 2005
World Gold Council Funds Solaris'
Ocular Nanorod Efforts - Gold Base Noted
Just shortly after Solaris has announced one round of funding, the company has revealed that
the World Gold Council, a organization funded by the world's leading gold mining companies, has also provided funding for
its anisotropic gold nanorod technology. The golden nanorods are planned to improve the quality of all types electronic
displays and to restore vision to those with retinal diseases. Dr. Nabil M. Lawandy, CEO of Solaris Nanosciences mentioned
specifically that the funding would benefit the development effort for the retinal disease known in short as AMD, "We are
excited to be working with the support of the World Gold Council in this application of our nanomaterials for improved LCDs,
The funding will accelerate the commercialization of our nanostructure additives for higher performance displays. This effort
will also directly benefit the development of our gold-based materials for restoring visual acuity in patients suffering from
retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD)." Solaris Nanosciences is developing biologically active nanostructures,
which require gold, that may be able to restore the vision of those with Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy. Solaris
reports that over 50 million people are afflicted with these two diseases.
Dr Richard Holliday, Industrial Sector Manager of the World Gold
Council explained the rationale for the investment, "Supporting the development of new technologies based on gold will lead
to important new applications for the metal in industry. Solaris Nanosciences has a powerful nanotechnology platform and an
experienced team to successfully commercialize this technology. This will lead to exciting new applications for gold in electronic
The World Council is actively seeking new ways to promote the use
of gold in order to increase industrial demand, which is currently estimated between 350 to 400 tonnes a year - considered
low when compared to other metals.
APRIL 28th, 2005
SurModics, Inc. (Nasdaq:SRDX), a company involved in the drug delivery
market, has obtained an option from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey for the exclusive rights the use of biodegradable
polymers. Bruce Barclay, President and COO of SurModics commented about the relationship between the polymers and its
drug delivery platform, "SurModics continues to expand our technology offerings in ophthalmology following our acquisition
of InnoRx earlier this year. By combining these polymer families with the drug delivery platform technologies acquired from
InnoRx, we expect to be able to deliver a wide variety of drugs and other bioactive agents to the eye, treating such serious
diseases as age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME), two of the leading causes of blindness
in adults today, as well as glaucoma. This relationship with Rutgers demonstrates our commitment to offering leading-edge
proprietary technologies to our customers for this important market."
With the addition of the polymers, SurModics now has seven distinct
families of polymers available. These include PolyActive and OCTODEX, which were licensed by SurModics from OctoPlus,
as well SurModic's internally developed polymer families - Bravo, Encore and Accolade. The Bravo matrix is also used for