ExSight founding partner, Dr. Firas Rahhal, is no stranger to the OIS stage and has even had a turn as host of OIS TV. Firas discusses this new role below.
It has been an honor and a privilege to be invited to host the new OIS-Retina Podcast. The OIS has become one of the best and most important meetings in Ophthalmology over the last decade or so. I have been attending regularly, along with my partners at ExSight Ventures, since 2014, and have become a more active participant in the last few years. It is the meeting place for innovators, industry professionals, clinical scientists, clinicians, and investors. There is no other meeting with this great constellation of professionals in the field of ophthalmology.
So the OIS-Retina Podcast seeks to mimic this unique offering of information, discussion, education, and possibly debate, in the form of small group dialogue or interview between myself and many of the individual stakeholders in this space. Of course, given the name of the Podcast itself and my particular clinical expertise, many of the discussions will revolve around the posterior segment of the eye, but will certainly not be exclusively so.
I will attempt to have a mixture of guests from all parties in the previously mentioned fields, namely the innovators/founders, the CEOs and CMOs of the “small” start-up companies, the upper management personnel from the “big” corporations, as well as individuals from leading investment groups. With my busy clinical vitreoretinal surgery practice (Retina Vitreous Associates in LA), significant involvement in clinical trials, and role at ExSight Ventures as a background and hopefully lending some context, I will ask questions probing all aspects of the innovation and development process. Topics will range from first de novo ideas in the lab, all the way to commercialization, and ultimately market acceptance. We will cover drugs, devices, and diagnostics in the retina space. I hope to explore in some detail the thoughts of our experts on topics including basic science, clinical trials, team-building, business management, fundraising, career decision-making, and of course, issues around work-life balance. I will be speaking to a group of highly successful, hard-working people, and it will be great to get a sense of who they are and learn a bit about their personal histories.
I would also like to thank my friend and colleague, Craig Simak, Co-Founder of OIS, for entrusting me with the OIS-Retina Podcast, and will do my best to simply stay out of the way while we hear from these amazing leaders and innovators in our field.
New Crop of Venture Firms Takes Aim at Individual Disease Areas
"Founders of disease-specific funds say it is possible to build a diversified portfolio within a single sector. In ophthalmology, there are distinct diseases affecting the front and back of the eyes, and a variety of drugs and medical devices are being developed to treat them, said James Murray, co-founder and partner of ExSight Ventures, a vision-focused firm based in New York.