OcuBlink Wins Seed Funding From Two Business Accelerators

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WATERLOO, Ontario—OcuBlink, Inc., which is developing sophisticated in vitro eye models for ophthalmic testing, has received funding from two business accelerators. The company will use the funds and associated entrepreneurial coaching to scale its business, which focuses on assisting research centers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies validate ocular products more rapidly and cost effectively, according to an announcement earlier this month. AC JumpStart, funded by FedDev Ontario, awarded OcuBlink $30,000 (Canadian dollars) in seed capital and $10,000 of in-kind mentorship. The accelerator helps technology start-ups establish and grow their business in Southern Ontario.

OcuBlink also was named one of four winners in the annual Velocity Fund $5K competition, an entrepreneurship program at the University of Waterloo and the most productive start-up incubator in Canada, according to the announcement.

OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and now operates as an affiliate, utilizing CORE’s staffing, counsel and laboratories.

“We’ve been developing our novel in vitro platforms since 2014, working with industry partners and researchers to validate our technology,”OcuBlink chief executive officer Hendrik Walther said in the announcement.“Now it’s time to bring our innovations to market, with the invaluable assistance of AC Jumpstart and the Velocity Fund.”

According to OcuBlink's announcement, traditional testing uses a vial or a test tube for early stage research, with later pre-clinical studies performed using an animal model. However, vials and test tubes do not resemble the complex structure of the eye, which may lead to variable outcomes. Incorporating OcuBlink to test concepts and prototypes at an earlier stage will minimize costs, reduce animal experimentation, and create deeper understanding of the underlying science of how new and existing products interact with the eye, the company noted.