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Santen establishes its first external research laboratory in Europe at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London

Wed 2 March 2022

For UK national/UK healthcare professional and pharmaceutical trade media/European healthcare professional and pharmaceutical trade media 

Geneva, Switzerland – Santen, in partnership with UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO), is proud to announce the company’s first external research laboratory in Europe. This development comes following ongoing and committed investment from Santen in PhD studentships at UCL IoO over the past few years, managed by the Global Alliances and External Research (GAER) department at Santen. The aim of this research laboratory is to investigate how to prevent and reverse damage that glaucoma causes to the optic nerve and retina and to support some of the brightest minds in the field to find solutions to ophthalmology’s most pressing challenges.  

“Having completed my PhD with sponsorship from Santen at UCL, continuing to work collaboratively with the research leaders at the world-renowned UCL IoO is an exciting next step,” said Will Lamb PhD, Research Scientist, Santen-UCL Research Lab. 

Glaucoma affects approximately 14 million people in Europe and causes damage to the optic nerve.1,2 Damage occurs when drainage of the aqueous humour (a watery fluid that fills the space between cornea and lens and helps maintain normal pressure in the eye) is blocked and therefore the intraocular pressure (IOP) is increased.2,3 The hope is that scientific studies undertaken at this new laboratory could help to characterise and ultimately develop new and unique treatments for glaucoma, leveraging gene and cell therapy techniques to target the visual nervous system.

“This is an exciting new development in our strategic partnership with Santen which has been going from strength to strength since the original memorandum-of-understanding in 2016,” said Professor Andrew Dick, Director, UCL IoO. “I’m grateful to everyone involved for their enthusiasm and dedication to foster the research potential of this partnership; and to UCL Translational Research Office (TRO) for supporting the IoO’s vision to expand our translational research to generate better therapies, diagnostics and knowledge of eye care.”

Eye diseases can have a number of negative impacts on those affected such as restricted education and employment opportunities4,5 loss of self-confidence,6 and reduced sleep quality and enjoyment from daily activities.7,8 Santen works with and for patients, actively learning from their experiences to develop solutions, products and services that improve lives and protect sight. The lab will facilitate even greater collaboration between Santen and UCL IoO scientists, allowing deeper research on projects of mutual interest. 

“It is gratifying to recruit two dedicated post-doctoral scientists to launch this new research initiative in collaboration with the faculty at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology – to help discover innovative regenerative medicines to treat glaucoma”, said Najam Sharif, PhD, DSc, VP and Head of GAER, Santen Inc., USA. 

“I am delighted to have established a new European research laboratory at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London,” said Luis Iglesias, President and Head of Santen EMEA. “The investigations that will now take place in the United Kingdom bring us a step closer to finding new solutions for eye diseases and complements work ongoing around the world in our research hubs in Singapore and Japan.”  


  1. Quigley HA et al. Br J Ophthalmol 2006;90:262-267
  2. Weinreb RN et al. JAMA 2014;311(18):1901-1911
  3. Sharif  NA.  Int. J. Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017; 2 (3):22-36
  4. Lancet Global Health Commission report. 2020 Available at: (last accessed: September 2021)
  5. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Retinitis Pigmentosa. Available at: (last accessed: September 2021)
  6. Richards HS et al. Eye. 2014;28,296-302
  7. Hossain P et al. BMJ Open 2021;11: e039209
  8. Tallouzi MO, et al. BMJ Open Ophth 2020;5:e000481

About Santen 
As a global specialised company dedicated to ophthalmology, Santen carries out research, development, marketing, and sales of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter products, and medical devices that benefit patients in over 60 countries. Santen’s long-term vision is to become a social innovator in ophthalmology and address social and economic issues related to eye health by strategically exploring advancing technologies and collaborating with key leaders around the world. Underpinned by its people-centric values, Santen aims to ultimately deliver happiness with vision – a life with the best vision experience for every individual around the world. With scientific knowledge and organisational capabilities nurtured over 130 years, Santen provides products and services to contribute to the well-being of patients, their loved ones and consequently to society. For more information, please visit Santen’s websites (Europe, Middle East and Africa, EMEA) and (Japan headquarters).

About UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
The UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (UCL IoO) delivers cutting-edge ophthalmic research and education in partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital. UCL is ranked 8th in the QS 2022 World University Rankings and rated as the top UK University by research strength. Part of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, UCL IoO attracts researchers and academics of the highest international calibre. The institute works with education institutions and hospitals around the world to help raise teaching standards and train the next generation of eye and vision health experts. For further information go to:    

About UCL – London’s Global University
UCL is a diverse global community of world-class academics, students, industry links, external partners, and alumni. Our powerful collective of individuals and institutions work together to explore new possibilities. Since 1826, we have championed independent thought by attracting and nurturing the world's best minds. Our community of more than 43,800 students from 150 countries and over 14,300 staff pursues academic excellence, breaks boundaries and makes a positive impact on real world problems. We are consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world and are one of only a handful of institutions rated as having the strongest academic reputation and the broadest research impact.

We have a progressive and integrated approach to our teaching and research – championing innovation, creativity and cross-disciplinary working. We teach our students how to think, not what to think, and see them as partners, collaborators and contributors. For almost 200 years, we are proud to have opened higher education to students from a wide range of backgrounds and to change the way we create and share knowledge. We were the first in England to welcome women to university education and that courageous attitude and disruptive spirit is still alive today. We are UCL. | Follow @uclnews on Twitter | Read news at | Listen to UCL podcasts on SoundCloud | Find out what’s on at UCL Minds

Document number: NP-SANTEN-EMEA-0256
Date of preparation: February 2022