ORBITAL members awarded over €700,000 for developing novel treatment for Dry Eye Disease

Do you suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome (DED)?

We are delighted to share the news that three members of our partner team ORBITAL, are embarking a new project to develop novel eye drop formulations in the hope of developing a treatment for Dry Eye Disease.

The ORBITAL (Ocular Research By Integrated Training And Learning) network Project Coordinator, Dr. Laurence Fitzhenry (SETU), along with co-supervisors Professor Alison Reynolds (UCD) and Dr. Niall O’Reilly (SETU) were awarded over €700,000 from Enterprise Ireland through its Commercialisation Fund to continue the development of novel eye drop formulations together with a talented team of Researchers at South East Technological University (SETU).

According to the SETU press release  ”The project aims to bring a range of ophthalmic products to market, reduce the need for multiple dosing, and benefit millions of sufferers around the world”


Why do we need new eye drop formulations?

DED is a chronic disease that affects more than 350 million people globally and is one of the most common reasons that patients visit eye-care providers. It occurs when your tears are not able to produce adequate lubrication for your eyes. Unfortunately, there is no cure for DED and in the majority of the cases artificial tears/eye drops are given over-the-counter (OCT).


However, eye drops have the disadvantage of the need for multi-dosing as Dr Fitzhenry ORBITAL Project Coordinator, Laurence Fitzhenry (SETU), says: I have been using artificial tears for years, and often need to apply them six or eight times throughout the day. Many people can use them up to 15 times daily or require a variety of different treatments and drops, increasing the burden on these individuals.’’


Professor Alison Reynolds, (UCD) completes: “We are delighted to bring together novel technologies from UCD and SETU to form OcuHealth. Our goal is to provide treatments for patients living with dry eye disease, a chronic, painful condition which is underserved by current options.”

If you would like to read more about their work, click here 


Who is ORBITAL and the OcuHealth team?

The Ocular Research By Integrated Training And Learning (ORBITAL) aims to train 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) to have the skills necessary to develop patient-friendly drug delivery technologies and improve patient outcomes for conditions such as AMD and diabetic eye disease.


ORBITAL combines academia, industry, clinicians, patient advocacy groups and hospitals (23 members) working together to create patient-friendly solutions for blinding diseases. Fighting Blindness is a Partner Organisation and provides support in Public and Patient Engagement (PPI) training and patient outreach.


The funded project Innovative Nanomaterials for Improved Ocular Health (OcuHealth) will be overseen at SETU by Principal Investigator and ORBITAL Project Coordinator Dr Laurence Fitzhenry of the Ocular Therapeutics Research Group (OTRG) in the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) in Waterford. The OcuHealth team includes: Dr Fitzhenry, Dr O’Reilly, Dr Lynch, Ms Ames, Prof Reynolds, and Dr Muhammad.

If you would like to participate in the survey and share your experience with the Dry Eye Disease, click here or contact Laurence.Fitzhenry@setu.ie.