Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD
Chicago Firm to Fund Inoveon Product Rollout
OKLAHOMA CITY (JR) -- A Chicago vision care company will fund Oklahoma City-based Inoveon's commercialization of a digital disease- management system developed at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
The system uses the Internet to monitor diabetic patients for diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. The university has licensed technology developed by OU's Center for Telemedicine to Inoveon.
This is among the first instances in which the university will profit from an opportunity made possible by last year's passage of State Questions 680 and 681, which allow the university to license its technological innovations to for-profit companies.
Wesley Jessen Vision Care is providing $4.4 million in return for a 30 percent stake in the company and the U.S. rights to market the diabetic retinopathy system and other applications of the technology to optometrists. Inoveon will market the service to primary care physicians and ophthalmologists.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs as the progression of diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the eye, forming microscopic leaks in the retina and vitreous. When detected early, patients with diabetic retinopathy can be successfully treated with a simple outpatient laser procedure.
Because the treatment for diabetic retinopathy is so effective and the long-term health care and quality-of-life problems associated with blindness are so great, most health organizations recommend that every diabetic have an annual screening for the condition. While most diagnosed diabetics in the United States see their primary care physician at least once a year, less than 40 percent annually receive the recommended dilated eye examination. As a result, only about 30 percent of the cases are diagnosed early enough to save the patient's vision. …