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Zeiss and Precise Bio to accelerate bio-fabricated corneal tissue program

Carl Zeiss Meditec has revealed a new partnership with Precise Bio to develop fabricated corneal tissue, leveraging a new 4D bio-fabrication platform that is set to address a major unmet need in ophthalmology.

The German ophthalmic medical device maker announced on 18 July it had signed a deal with US-based Precise Bio, which describes itself as a regenerative medicine company advancing the use of bio-printed tissues and organs.

Specifically, the two companies will develop and commercialise fabricated corneal tissue for patients requiring endothelial keratoplasty and natural lenticule transplants for treating keratoconus and vision correction.

Under the terms of the agreement, Carl Zeiss Meditec will invest in Precise Bio and fund the further development of Precise Bio’s two corneal transplant tissue products and has exclusive worldwide commercialisation rights for these products. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This investment in Precise Bio is expected to complement our leading portfolio of cataract and corneal refractive workflow solutions,” Mr Euan Thomson, president of ophthalmic devices and head of the Digital Business Unit for Carl Zeiss Meditec, said.

“The technology has the potential to advance treatment options for corneal disease, as well as for elective procedures – furthering enabling optimisation of patient care.”

Mr Aryeh Batt, co-founder and CEO of Precise Bio, said the company was excited about the partnership.

“This strategic agreement leverages ZEISS’ global leadership in ophthalmology and Precise’s innovative and unique 4D bio-fabrication platform technology. We are confident that the synergy between the two companies will allow us to develop breakthrough solutions for recovering patients’ eyesight, bringing hope to hundreds of millions of patients worldwide.”

According to Precise Bio, its technology combines engineering, biomaterials, cell technology, bioengineering, and 3D printing into a 4D bio-fabrication platform for transplantable organs and tissues.

The company’s proprietary platform technology allows it to fabricate tissues by ‘printing’ cells in a single-cell resolution and spatial accuracy, enabling complex organoid constructs with both structural integrity and long-term cell viability.

Overcoming multiple technology challenges, Precise Bio stated its 4D bio-fabrication technology enables it to reliably scale up tissue engineering for clinical use, and produce large quantities in a reproducible, quality controlled and cost-effective process.

Precise Bio’s ophthalmological pipeline consists of three products, the two cornea products that are the subject of the collaboration with Carl Zeiss Meditec, and a retinal implant for age-related macular degeneration, all of which demonstrated successful results in animal models.

The company’s ophthalmological products address global markets exceeding $10 billion annually.

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