As 2024 begins, iSTAR Medical’s CEO, Michel Vanbrabant, reflects on the Company’s achievements and progress over 2023 as it continues the development and commercial rollout of MINIject®, its innovative, minimally invasive implant for glaucoma patients.
2023 was another significant year for iSTAR Medical as we strive to achieve our aim of improving the lives of people around the world affected by glaucoma. Over the past year, we have made significant progress in the commercial rollout of MINIject®, and I am proud to announce that to date, over 2,500 patients have been treated, reflecting our ever-growing momentum and innovation in the glaucoma treatment space.
Having completed our second full commercial year, we have made substantial strides thus far with continuous growth; we continue to receive consistently excellent feedback from both surgeons and patients.
Of course, greater expansion comes with increase in demand, and in 2023 we put significant efforts in the scale-up of operational activities to support this. With the strategic growth of our commercial sales force, we have been able to better focus on larger accounts demonstrating huge potential in mild and moderate glaucoma. As our team grows, we will be well equipped to further broaden our engagement with additional accounts.
In preparation for our continued production and global commercial rollout of MINIject®, we further strengthened our leadership team; welcoming Sabine Glibert as Vice President Quality and announced the promotion of Dr Stefan Uhrlandt, previously Vice President Research and Development (R&D), to Vice President Operations and R&D. Their appointments ensure iSTAR Medical’s focus on quality and safety is maintained in the face of the growing demand for MINIject® around the world.
Along with our ongoing US STAR-V trial, we achieved another significant clinical milestone in 2023 with the initiation of our international STAR-VI trial, which seeks to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MINIject® in conjunction with cataract surgery for patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. As patient recruitment progresses for both these trials into the new year, we look forward to reporting clinical data in due course.
Our data set within the STAR-LIFE study, our observational, multicentric registry focused on data collection after MINIject® implantation in a real-life setting, continues to show and establish a consistent safety and efficacy profile for the use of MINIject® in patients with open-angle glaucoma. Within this, our STAR-GLOBAL study continues to progress succesfully, with 3-year MINIject® results data confirming a favorable safety profile and no endothelial cell density (ECD) safety concerns. Data also showed sustained meaningful reduction in intraocular pressure (IOP) of 39%, with 42% of patients medication-free after treatment. We look forward to continuing the growth of our dataset in the coming year.
As part of the work we do, we are proud to share our continued progress and learnings with the wider scientific and medical community, having carried out over 30 oral and poster presentations in the past year. iSTAR Medical was represented at over 40 conferences and events in 2023, where consistent data from both our STAR trials as well as MINIject® data from the surgeons were presented. These conferences include the UK and Éire Glaucoma Society (UKEGS) conference, the German Ophthalmic Surgery (DOC) Congress and The European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) Congress. At the World Glaucoma Congress (WGC) held in Rome, Steve Sarkisian chaired our symposium which featured new three-year interim data from our STAR-GLOBAL trial presented by Inder Paul Singh, Karsten Klabe and Faisal Ahmed. In addition to symposiums and presenting data at these events, we also provided surgeons with hands-on experience with MINIject® at our expert dry labs.
In 2022, I reflected on the growing number of patients who were able to benefit from MINIject® as a result of our continued commercial rollout across Europe. In 2023, we continued to provide MINIject® as a safe and effective treatment option for open-angle glaucoma, expanding our commercial rollout in Europe. Excitingly, we ended the year with the completion of our first implantations of MINIject® in the Netherlands and we are excited to share that MINIject® will soon be commercially available in the first country outside Europe in the coming weeks.
As we move into 2024, our outlook is more optimistic than ever. I anticipate a year filled with continued innovation, development, and commercialization of MINIject® as we seek to further our reach to more patients in additional geographies and share data from our various ongoing STAR trials. I look forward to sharing our updates with you in the forthcoming year!
Wishing you all a joyful and prosperous start to the New Year,