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OcuBlink, Inc. wins seed funding from two prominent business accelerators

Friday, August 17, 2018

Background eyeOcuBlink is a Centre for Ocular Research & Education affiliated start-up that is developing sophisticated in vitro eye models for ophthalmic testing. The company has received funding from two prominent business accelerators, and will use the funds and associated entrepreneurial coaching to scale its business, focused on assisting research centers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies validate ocular products more rapidly and cost-effectively.

AC JumpStart, funded by FedDev Ontario, awarded OcuBlink CAD$30,000 in seed capital and CAD$10,000 of in-kind mentorship. The accelerator helps technology start-ups establish and grow their business in Southern Ontario. OcuBlink was also 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.

OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE), which is based at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry & Vision Science, 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. Now it’s time to bring our innovations to market, with the invaluable assistance of AC Jumpstart and the Velocity Fund,” said OcuBlink Chief Executive Officer Hendrik Walther, PhD, MSc, BSc Optom.

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 remotely resemble the complex structure of the eye, leading to variable outcomes, and increasing regulation and public opinion is limiting animal experimentation. 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.

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