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13 December 2017

TearSolutions eyes $8.5m series B

The ocular biotech spinout was has received cash from backers including the VTC Innovation Fund as it prepares to take its dry eye syndrome treatment through clinical testing.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

TearSolutions, a US-based ocular biotechnology spinout from University of Virginia, has secured $8.5m from a series B round co-led by the Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) Innovation Fund.

Pharmaceutical firm Pharmstandard International co-led the round, which also included its peer Santen Pharmaceutical’s investment unit Santen Ventures and unnamed, existing backers.

The VTC Innovation Fund is a $15m vehicle launched by the foundation of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and healthcare provider Carilion Clinic in February 2017.

TearSolutions is developing a dry eye syndrome treatment called Lacripep that targets deficiencies in a protein called Lacritin, which is considered vital to retaining ocular moisture. Pre-clinical trials have shown the therapy can increase tear flow within one week.

The company was spun out from University of Virginia’s School of Medicine in 2013 and is based on research by Gordon Laurie, a professor in cell biology who discovered Lacritin in 2001.

TearSolutions will spend the cash preparing for phase 1/2 clinical trials. James Ramey, principal and fund manager of the VTC Innovation Fund, and Alexey Vinodograv, head of Pharmstandard’s corporate venturing arm Pharmstandard Ventures, will join the board.

The spinout previously closed a $3m series A round in 2015 co-led by Santen Pharmaceuticals, Medarva Innovations, Center for Innovative Technology and Launch Capital.

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