By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
Significantly improving the treatment of chronic dry eye probably won't win Dr. Allen T. Jackson the kind of international acclaim that makes him a household name, but if he has his way it could bring jobs to Volusia County.
"Dry eyes is a glossed-over phenomenon," he said. "It seems very simple and is treated very simply. It is a complicated problem and it causes misery to many patients."
But there are not many lining up to start companies to research, develop and manufacture products to improve treatments for the condition, so Dr. Jackson started Delta Dynamic Developments back in 2003 with chronic dry eye firmly in mind. Now his company is one of about a dozen upstarts at the University of Central Florida's Business Incubator at the Daytona Beach International Airport, 601 Innovation Way.
"It doesn't get great attention, because dry eye never makes anyone go blind," he said. "All of the products on the market address the issue partially."
Many know Dr. Jackson from his work at Florida Eye Research & Surgical Therapy Institute in Daytona Beach. He's been a practicing ophthalmologist since 1996. That year he started practicing at the Darnall Army Community Hospital, Fort Hood, Texas. Mr. Jackson started his commission in 1985, and came to the area in 2006 after retiring from the military.
But he's not a one-trick pony. In addition to doing research and development for dry-eye treatments, Deltona Dynamic Developments is creating for manufacture other personal health items, such as portable sanitation kits. Dr. Jackson said much of his company's approach is based on what folks can do to take personal responsibility in healthcare, thus greatly reduce their expenses by staying healthy and ease burdens on the often-overtaxed medical system.
"I think (over-the-counter and prescription dry-eye treatments) might end up being our flagship product, but as the company is evolving it's actually changing into a general product kind of situation."
It's a natural fit for Dr. Jackson.
"I have a master's degree in public health and disease prevention," he said. "Overall we want to promote health and prevent disease."
With products that get jobs generated around here.
"Our idea is to do everything local," the doctor said. "We actually hope to produce and manufacture everything out of Volusia County."
In 2010 the Volusia County Council approved $1.4 million to renovated a 10,000-square-foot facility to house it. Additionally, the county gave the university $750,000 to run it for three years.
"The business incubator is a place to start a company," Doris "Connie" Bernal, the business incubator's Daytona Beach site manager, said in a previous interview. "The entrants have a lot of resources to work with here. They have professionals who help them with a number of areas."
Dr. Jackson said the incubator has given him much access to very specialized medical-business research help.
"It provides a lot of resources," he said. "It provides advice from previously successful entrepreneurs and resources of the University of Central Florida. One thing about the incubator, they consider themselves a network. While I'm in the Daytona Beach incubator, I can participate in things going on in other incubators."
UCF has 10 business-incubator sites throughout Central Florida. It was founded in 1999 and has about 80 current clients. According to its website, the incubators have generated about 1,600 jobs in the area with average salaries of $59,000.
Dr. Jackson believes Delta Dynamic will add about 25 jobs in Volusia within five years.
Editor's note: This is the last article in a series about businesses at the University of Central Florida Business Incubator.