Azura Ophthalmics, which is developing therapies to combat meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), an underlying cause of dry eye disease, closed a $16 million Series B funding round. The fresh capital will be used to advance the treatment, which uses a dermatological approach to the condition, through clinical trials.
A syndicate of investors including OrbiMed, TPG Biotech and Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund led the Series B for the Tel Aviv-based business. Ganot Capital also took part.
The founders of Azura have cut their teeth in the eye treatment sector. Dr. Yair Alster, founder and CTO, helped start ForSight Vision4. The company was created with ophthalmic incubator ForSight Labs and acquired by Roche-Genentech earlier this year. He also cofounded ForSight Vision 5, which Allergan acquired last year. CEO Marc Gleeson worked for 14 years as Allergan vice president of global marketing for Ophthalmology before joining Oculeve.
The dry eye disease space has been fairly active in the past few years. Oculeve, which developed a nasal neurostimulation tool to increase tear production, came out of Stanford University’s Biodesign program and received investment from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, New Enterprise Associates and Versant Ventures. Allergan acquired the business in 2015. The FDA granted market authorization for the TrueTear Intranasal Tear Neurostimulator in April this year.
In August Johnson & Johnson’s vision business said it agreed to acquire TearScience in Research Triangle Park. TearScience had received FDA clearance for its LipiFlow treatment for dry eye disease in 2012
Other players in the space see a need for dry eye disease tied to other causes. Ocunova, for example, developed a therapeutic for diabetes-related dry eye syndrome, which can cause corneal damage. The treatment enlists a drug already approved by the FDA to manage alcohol and drug dependence called Naltrexone. The company noted on its website that chronic dry eye disease in diabetes patients affects 20 million people in the U.S.
Photo: Jay_Zynism, Getty Images
Frank’s source: https://medcitynews.com/2017/10/eye-disease-entrepreneurs/
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