Case Study Two

The Mirricon: Inspired by Surgeons for Surgeons

"Working with Tomkins over a period of time, we developed a well-considered IP strategy and execution plan…Tomkins were excellent at working with our technical and scientific teams guiding them through every step of the process".

The Project

Mirricon is an Irish-developed ophthalmic diagnostic tool developed by ClearSight Innovations, which combines unique software algorithms with cutting-edge hardware to provide an accurate measurement of the internal optics of an eye.

The story of Mirricon’s creation is unique in that its foundation lies in a surgeon-driven innovation. From the initial inspiration to its ultimate development, the kind of people who are going to use the instrument are the same as the ones who inspired its’ development: Cataract/Refractive surgeons. 

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world with over 20 million surgeries conducted annually. During such surgery, the lens inside the eye that has become cloudy is removed and replaced with an artificial lens (an intraocular lens, or IOL) to restore clear vision. Current standard of care to decide the appropriate strength and type of lens involves taking a linear measurement of the eye and then applying historical formulae to extrapolate the exact shape of an individual’s eye.  This works well on the average, but does not take into account the uniqueness of the individual eye potentially compromising optimal outcomes. Mirricon allows accurate measurement of the eye with the ability to move cataract surgery outcomes to a new level. 

A surgeon-led story

The original inspiration for the Mirricon technology came from two Irish based ophthalmic surgeons. It occurred to them that if they measured all of the optical surfaces in the eye in a particular way this would allow accurate eye modelling delivering a complete eye measurement.  By creating such a device, there was the potential to choose the best IOLs for patients without having to wrestle with formulae and IOL calculators.  From this kernel, the idea developed.

An initial development team was formed by the National Digital Research Center (NDRC) in Dublin.  This consisted of optical scientists from the National University of Ireland Galway, with the two ophthalmic surgeons, project management, commercial personnel and computer scientists at NDRC. 

From research project to company

During ClearSight’s time at NDRC the project was developed across three key strands: clinical, technical, and commercial. This three strand approach was critical in development of a viable investment proposition allowing the team spin out as a commercial venture and attract corporate funding to progress along a focused, clinically relevant development pathway.  This was executed rapidly and professionally creating significant value milestones along the way.

Like all entrepreneurial companies, an exit plan was created. For ClearSight Innovations, this was the sale of the Mirricon technology to a larger company, delivering significant return on investment for shareholders and ensuring that their scientific, technical, and clinical achievements would find their way into the global cataract market. This was all supported by excellent clinical data, superb technical achievements, and novel intellectual property.  

In 2015 ClearSight’s exit plan was realised…by the successful sale of the Mirricon technology and its associated Intellectual Property to a global medical device company. The fruits of a surgeon’s inspiration and dedicated research and development had delivered the technology to the global arena. 

Tomkins - there from the beginning

Tomkins guided the ClearSight team at every stage of their journey from that initial inspiration to the sale of the Mirricon technology and the securement of a multi-million financial return on investment. Tomkins worked with ClearSight not just in successfully securing a strong portfolio of patents in major countries across North and South America, Asia and Europe, but were called upon for our expertise in all aspects of IP management and strategy. 

Ronan Byrne, former CEO of ClearSight Innovations recognises the value partnering with Tomkins brought over a 7 year period: 

As a medical technology company, developing worthwhile IP was of great importance to us.  The cost to develop a technology such as ours is considerable and IP protection can add real value to the company.  Working with Tomkins over a period of time, we developed a well-considered IP strategy and execution plan.  Tomkins were excellent at working with our technical and scientific teams guiding them through every step of the process.

Ultimately, ClearSight Innovations had a successful multi-million exit to a major player in our industry and we hope to see our technology make a real difference to patients' lives in the years to come.

Tomkins. Supporting Greatness.