TearScience is about to receive Monday morning a publicity boost no advertising budget could buy.
The syndicated TV show “The Doctors” will air in today’s program at 10 a.m. (WRAL-TV in the Triangle) a segment about the Morrisville-based company’s recently FDA approved dry-eye treatment.
“Fast Fix for Dry Eyes,” proclaims the show.
“Can dry eye sufferers finally ditch their eye drops?
“Ophthalmologist Dr. John Hovanesian demonstrates LipiFlow, a new procedure that uses heat and gentle pressure to liquefy and remove obstructions in the eyelid glands, which normally secrete oils that lubricate the eye.
“The treatment takes approximately 12 minutes, and one treatment is enough to keep the eyes moist between nine and 15 months.”
The media exposure is the latest good news for TearScience, which recently raised $70 million in financing.
The company’s success has sparked talk that it could be the latest Triangle-based firm to go public through a Wall Street stock offering.
But for the moment, the TearScience crew is thrilled with the exposure the widely watched “Doctors” show will give its product.
“I have suffered with dry eye for more than 15 years and have tried numerous therapies to manage my chronic condition,” said Angela Megerdichian of Laguna Beach, Calif., who participated in the LipiFlow treatment in The Doctors episode. “I used to put wetting drops in first thing in the morning and at least eight times throughout each day. LipiFlow is the only thing that has given me relief. I highly recommend it.”
TearScience released the statement from the show.
Hovanesian, a practicing ophthalmologist at Harvard Eye Associates in Laguna Hills, Calif., and an investigator in an ongoing study to evaluate the duration of LipiFlow’s effectiveness, already offers the treatment.
“Following a thorough examination of Angela’s condition including the use of TearScience’s LipiView®, which measures lipids at the sub-molecular level, and a Meibomian gland evaluation, I confirmed that she had evaporative dry eye and would benefit from treatment,” Dr. Hovanesian said in a statement ahead of the show. “It was a great experience to treat Angela on the show and help to improve her quality of life. My experience has been consistent with results from earlier clinical trials whereby 79 percent of patients who received a single LipiFlow® treatment reported improvements in overall dry eye symptoms. While not a cure for this chronic, progressive disease, these results are unprecedented in dry eye treatments.”
TearScience notes that more than 23 million Americans suffer from dry eye.
TearScience Is Growing
The company has developed a device that uses a combination of heat and pressure to treat evaporative dry eye, a condition caused when the glands that produce oily film that keep the tear film from evaporating, become clogged.
Chief Executive Officer Tim Willis told WRALTechWire recently that TearScience has no specific IPO plan.
“All options are on the table for us, all options,” he said.
But he added that in the last year, market conditions have worsened for early stage medical device companies considering an IPO. A company must be of a certain size and scale in order to even consider an IPO.
With the company’s latest financing secured in February, TearScience now plans a global push to commercialize a technology that the company says addresses a $10 billion market opportunity in North America alone.
TearScience was already growing rapidly before announcing the funding. It now has more than 100 employees, having expanded sales force hiring in 2012.