Glaukos announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 9,827,143 to the company. Entitled “Shunt Device and Method for Treating Ocular Disorders”, the newly issued patent covers ocular devices and methods of surgically implanting the devices at least partially within Schlemm’s canal to facilitate the flow of aqueous humor.
“Our fundamental strategy at Glaukos is to develop innovative micro-scale technologies that provide viable new treatment options for people suffering with glaucoma, one of the world’s leading causes of blindness,” Thomas Burns, president and chief executive officer, said in a company news release. “This issued patent strengthens the protection of our inventions, further substantiates the proprietary nature of our technology and further expands our portfolio of more than 200 patents issued in the U.S. and major international markets.”
Glaukos pioneered micro-invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) and received FDA approval for the iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass, the market’s flagship MIGS device, in June 2012. Inserted through the trabecular meshwork and into Schlemm’s canal, the iStent is designed to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by restoring the natural, physiological outflow of aqueous humor in patients with open-angle glaucoma. The iStent is currently approved for use in the United States in conjunction with cataract surgery. Made of surgical-grade non-ferromagnetic titanium that is coated with heparin, the iStent is approximately 1.0 mm long and 0.33 mm wide. Glaukos believes it is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA.
Glaucoma is characterized by progressive, irreversible and largely asymptomatic vision loss caused by optic nerve damage. There is no cure for the disease and reducing IOP is the only proven treatment. Based on analysis of population-based surveys, medical claims data and other statistics, the company estimates that there are approximately 5.4 million people in the U.S. with primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the disease.