Singapore: Santen and Plano partner to tackle myopia

Shigeo Taniuchi, chief executive, Santen

Japan’s Santen Pharmaceutical and Singapore-based eye health tech company Plano have partnered to look at technological solutions for myopia.

Santen has also invested in Plano though financial terms have not been disclosed.

“Santen will, through Plano, by this strategic alliance, initiate in Singapore to raise awareness and support prevention and management of myopia in everyday life, as well as to expand the novel solutions to the region and beyond. With a recognition of rapid increase of myopia as a social issue, as a global leader in ophthalmology,” said Santen chief executive Shigeo Taniuchi.

Founded in 2017 by Mohamed Dirani, Plano is the first spin-off from the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) – Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) Ophthalmic Technologies Incubator Programme, dedicated to accelerating ophthalmic R&D projects towards commercialisation and medical deployment.

The company’s key products are an application and an online optometry booking system, Plano Eyecheck.

The company says that in only three years the application has been adopted by more than 250,000 households.

“Myopia is a major public health problem in Asia and globally. We need to continue to raise awareness of the impact of the disease, its major risk factors and how we can slow its progression to prevent visual impairment,” said Wong Tien Yin, medical director of the Singapore National Eye Centre.

Developed countries in East and Southeast Asia have the highest rates of myopia in the world. As many as 80-90% of teenagers and young adults in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and 96.5% of 19-year-old men in South Korea have myopia.