Klear Optix Launches at the NC Research Campus
Phones are smart. Homes are getting smarter. Clothes are gaining intelligence too. So why not smarter contact lenses that can monitor health, help with healing or even dispense medicine?
For contact lenses to become more than substitutes for eyeglasses requires companies like Klear Optix, the latest startup to lease laboratory and office space in the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory Building on the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis.
Launched in February 2017, co-founder Ramazan Benrashid, PhD, an expert in polymer chemistry who lives in Concord, NC, brings years of experience in developing materials for opto-electronic, coating biocompatible polymers and contact lenses. He has worked for the largest companies in the contact lens industry and smaller startups tackling the challenges of “smart lens” technologies.
“Right now, we are working on two projects for a company,” Benrashid said. “They have a material that needs to be scaled up to pass all of the FDA requirements and then transferred from research and development to manufacturing. We are also developing a new material with higher oxygen permeability for them that will be their future generation of rigid contact lenses.”
As research and development for these contracts continues, Benrashid and his partner Ali Dahi expect that the 500 square-foot laboratory and office space that Klear Optix occupies won’t be enough. They anticipate expanding into adjacent laboratory space in the next year to accommodate additional testing and development. Dahi also co-founded the California-based company Synergeyes that develops and manufactures hybrid contact lens for stigmatism, presbyopia and irregular cornea conditions.
For Klear Optix, Benrashid and Dahi are looking ahead to projects where they can research new materials and designs for soft lenses, bandage lenses for healing and intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery. For the NC Research Campus, Klear Optix is the third startup company in the past six months to lease space in the Core Laboratory Building, reflecting the NCRC’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs in the region.