Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis has acquired US-based software startup Amblyotech to develop novel digital therapy for children and adult patients with lazy eye.

Novartis will work with Ubisoft and McGill University for the development of the acquired digital technology to treat amblyopia.

Ubisoft, a video game developer, will support Novartis to develop the Amblyotech software as a medical device (SaMD), as well as create series of engaging games for the device, and conduct a proof of concept study (PoC), which is expected to begin by the end of this year.

Amblyopia is estimated to affect around 3% of the global population and this condition may result in poor vision and other quality of life issues.

Amblyotech, which will help improve compliance, uses active gaming and passive video technology with 3-D glasses to training the eyes to work together to see an image in full.

Amblyotech’s software deploys a unique visual presentation to help present eye with different images

The firm’s software deploys a unique visual presentation, dubbed dichoptic display, which allows each eye to present with different images by using an advanced algorithm.

Amblyotech’s software is said to show improvements in vision in both children and adults with faster onset compared to standard of care treatments in early clinical studies.

Novartis ophthalmology global business franchise head Nikos Tripodis said: “By offering a noninvasive solution that has the potential to be significantly faster than current standards of care such as patching for children and adults impacted by lazy eye, Amblyotech’s software is a great example of how we can reimagine medicine using digital technology.

“We look forward to using our deep clinical development expertise in ophthalmology to accelerate this platform toward regulatory approval, and our global commercial footprint to maximize access for patients who need it.”

In April 2019, eye care firm Alcon was separated from Novartis and launched as an independent, publicly traded company to better serve its customers.