My interest in the hearing loss space was sparked after reading a January 2015 New York Times article by Andrew Pollack entitled “Ear Ailments are New Focus for Drugs from Vertigo to Tinnitus”
After reading the article, I had my “eureka” moment. The hearing loss space provided me with a personal connection to the science. My 10 year old son was born with congenital hearing loss and finding a cure for him is what drives me.
In my initial research into the hearing loss market, I found a company called Inception Sciences 3 (IS3). IS3 is a unique product of the “build-to-buy” deal construct involving Roche, Versant Ventures and IS3. They are attempting to grow human sensory hearing cells (hair cells) from stem cells. IS3 is in the cell culture stage.
A Meeting with Scientists from Roche
Based on my interest in the space and IS3, I met with Judith Dunn (VP, Global Head Clinical Development at Roche) and Anirvan Ghosh (Vice President, Global Head, Neuroscience Discovery & Biomarkers at Roche) at the Roche Innovation Center in New York City.
After discussing my research, Judith and Anirvan suggested that I: (1) categorize therapies according to scientific approach and (2) research hearing loss foundations to obtain knowledge on emerging therapies and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders).
Developing a Framework to Understand the Space
I have established 4 categories (or buckets) of therapeutic approaches: Gene Therapy, Small Molecule, Anti-Sense Oligos and Stem Cell. I now have a framework to organize, analyze and communicate my understanding of the hearing loss space to others.