In 2017, Brandon Kao of Penn Engineering, and Rui Jing Jiang and Adarsh Battu of the Wharton School, devised a way to use a nanoscale material in the treatment of a form of glaucoma. That material, developed by Igor Bargatin, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, could be comfortably implanted in the eye and shunt away the fluid that builds up with the disease, preventing damage to the optic nerve.
Their implant idea, VisiPlate, and subsequent company, Avisi Technologies, earned the trio the 2016-2017 Y-Prize, the 2018 President’s Innovation Prize, and a home base at the Pennovation Center.
Now, it has earned them a $1 Million Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding will help prepare the team for clinical trials, which they plan to begin in 2021.
Kao recently spoke to Technical.ly Philly’s Paige Gross about the award and the team’s goals:
“It comes at a really interesting time for us,” Jiang said. “The past year — and well, really each year — we make more and more progress, and it’s a nice culmination of what we’ve done in the last year.”
Read more about Avisi Technologies’ NSF grant at Technical.ly Philly.