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Giving a fair shake to the eyes in the sky

This is the second article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In July 2002, a FedEx Boeing 727 carrying cargo crashed on its approach for a night-time landing in Tallahassee, Fl. A U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation identified the first officer’s colour vision deficiency as a factor in the crash and recommended that all existing colour vision testing protocols employed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) be reviewed. Four years later, this case, and the issues which it raised about colour blindness testing in the commercial aviation industry, was the subject of a panel at an international workshop hosted by Saudi Arabian Airlines.

For Matt Lemelin, CEO of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, stories such as this validate his company’s mandate, and commercial potential, to redefine how colour blindness is tested, diagnosed and treated. As Genevolve moves closer to its commercial launch, he is eagerly looking at specific industries such as aviation, where there is an opportunity for the company to establish new testing standards that are more fair and equitable. Genevolve’s ultimate goal is to create a global colour vision standard for all occupations.

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