Zeiss and Boehringer Ingelheim Collaborate on AI Initiative to Detect and Address Eye Diseases Earlier

Zeiss and Boehringer Ingelheim Collaborate on AI Initiative to Detect and Address Eye Diseases Earlier

A groundbreaking collaboration between Zeiss Medical Technology and Boehringer Ingelheim is set to revolutionise the early detection and treatment of retinal diseases. This strategic partnership aims to identify and combat eye conditions before irreversible damage occurs, a threat faced by over 300 million people worldwide. This number is expected to rise due to ageing populations and disparities in healthcare accessibility.

“Our partnership with Zeiss Medical Technology will allow us to develop precision therapies delivering the right treatment for the right patient at the right time to prevent vision loss by intervening before irreversible damage occurs.”

 – Ulrike Graefe-Mody, Ph.D., Boehringer’s head of retinal health

Financial terms of the team-up weren’t disclosed. Zeiss will deploy its artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to analyze vast datasets of imaging information from various diagnostic and therapeutic devices on its cloud platform. The AI will scrutinize these scans for early indicators of retinal diseases.

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With Boehringer’s expertise, these findings will facilitate the creation of diagnostic and predictive tools for point-of-care identification of conditions and the development of novel therapeutics. These therapeutics will utilize early disease markers as a foundation for targeting disease pathways.

“Enabled by our Zeiss Medical Ecosystem and the platform’s ability to aggregate massive data sets for analysis, we’re strongly positioned to establish new partnerships in pursuit of research yet to be investigated, to accelerate access to future technologies and markets, and to help clinicians provide earlier detection and more personalized and precise care for their patients.” 

– Euan Thomson, Ph.D., head of Zeiss’ ophthalmology strategic business unit and digital business unit

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Boehringer has been at the forefront of ophthalmological disease treatments since 2013 when it identified its potential in addressing retinal conditions associated with diabetes. Over the past decade, the company has broadened its focus to encompass various critical therapy areas within its retinal health department, including wet age-related macular degeneration, geographic atrophy, and Stargardt disease. This expansion involved several partnerships, such as collaborations with Inflammasome Therapeutics in 2019 and CDR-Life in 2020, aimed at developing innovative therapeutics.

Zeiss, with its longstanding history in ophthalmology dating back to the early 1900s, is well-positioned to contribute its expertise to this collaborative effort. The company’s legacy includes the commercial debut of optical coherence tomography in 1996, a radiation-free imaging technology designed to identify vision-threatening conditions in the retina, recently honored with the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

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