ExSight’s second fund, 8th Line II held a first close May 27 with participation from many of our existing investors. We also welcomed several new investors. The focus remains the same: to invest in the most innovative companies working to preserve and restore vision. We are quite fortunate to count among our investors in each fund colleagues, family, and friends. The ExSight team is exceptionally proud of what we are building and consider our investors an integral part of our story. Were it not for the support and partnership of each of you this would not be possible. When we came together to form ExSight in 2014, we did so intending to partner with talented founders and committed investors to tackle vision loss. Five plus years into that journey, that dream is becoming a reality. The road to success for startups and the venture funds that invest in them is long. Though still early, we are encouraged by the progress of our portfolio companies and the continued support of our investors. Thank you to each one of you!
Now, back to work!
ExSight Ventures partner, Dr. Firas Rahhal is not a stranger to the stage at the various Ophthalmology Innovation Summit meetings (AAO, ASCRS) and has even appeared on OIS TV as an interviewee (here). Though based in Los Angeles Firas made his debut as OIS TV host at this year's OIS@ASRS in Chicago. Dr. Rahhal sat down with many leaders from the world of ophthalmology interviewing executives from Bausch + Lomb, Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, and more in Chicago. Firas also interviewed the CEO of one of the early-stage companies we are most excited about, Michael O'Rourke from Re-Vana Therapeutics. Re-Vana is developing a sustained drug delivery technology.
Dr. Rahhal had this to say about the experience, "OIS at ASRS was an incredible meeting. The diverse array of talent from the scientific, clinical, investment, and commercial communities was particularly impressive this year. I was gratified and appreciated the opportunity to serve on the Retinal Innovations Financing Panel with key investment professionals in our space, as well as formally interview, for “OIS TV”, many industry leaders with new developments in the Ophthalmology space, including Dry AMD therapeutics, long-acting drug delivery to the retina, as well as surgical devices and Artificial Intelligence applications."
When asked if he had a future in television, Firas remarked, "I really enjoyed the interviews tremendously, and had fun with the lively discussions with some extremely brilliant, innovative, and nice people. I was glad that my “chatty” and informal professional communication style turned out to be handy, for a change!”
The ExSight Ventures team will be in attendance at the next OIS event when it convenes ahead of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in San Francisco this October. If you're attending, please reach out to say hello!
LensGen, an ExSight Ventures portfolio company, was the buzz of this year's American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting (“ASCRS”) in San Diego. Members of the ExSight team were in the audience to hear Drs. Eric Donnenfeld, Uday Devgan, and Sumit (Sam) Garg present benefits of the company’s novel Juvene™, (the Complete Premium) IOL, and early results from the “Grail” Study. In addition to the reception LensGen had three high profile presentations during the ASCRS meetings. The first presentation by Uday Devgan, M.D. was given at Cataract/Refractive Subspecialty day. Dr. Devgan, who was also a presenter at the LensGen reception was interviewed after his talk by Healio. Dr. Devgan was the first to introduce ExSight to LensGen several years ago.
The next presentation by Sam Garg, M.D. was made to a full audience at OIS. Dr. Garg’s talk was front-page news in Eye World ASCRS. The final presentation in this series was given by Eric Donnenfeld, M.D., to a packed house in the main ballroom at the Innovators Lecture session. Each year, ASCRS honors individuals whose innovative ideas have benefited ophthalmologist and their patients at the prestigious Innovators Lecture. Dr. Donnenfeld presented on the Juvene IOL technology and shared the early “Grail” study results. You can watch that presentation in Healio.
It was a very exciting ASCRS for LensGen! We are honored to be a small part of the LensGen story and are very optimistic about their future prospects. Ram and the rest of the LensGen team deserve praise for their dedication and execution.
The OIS meetings always keep us busy with a full slate of meetings. These one-day conferences occur around various ophthalmology academy and society meetings throughout the year. OIS unites key constituents in ophthalmic innovation, including industry, entrepreneurial, and clinical leaders all working to develop and commercialize products to preserve and restore vision. The meetings present an opportunity for ExSight to meet with our portfolio companies, learn about new potential investments, and network with other investors and key industry partners. Dr. Rahhal joined investors from KKR, InFocus Capital Partners, and others in a panel discussion led by OIS co-chair, William “Bill” Link of Versant Ventures and Flying L Partners.