CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – TearSolutions LLC, a Charlottesville-based biotechnology company, has successfully closed its $3M Series A round with investments led by Santen Pharmaceuticals, Medarva Innovations LLC, the Center for Innovative Technology, and Launch Capital. The funds will enable the company to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application in the second half of 2016 and initiate a Phase I/II clinical study.
“No one has attempted to address the cause of dry eye, the most common eye disease. With National Eye Institute and University of Virginia (UVA) grant support, we discovered lacritin, a human tear protein and a natural regulator of basal tearing,” stated Gordon Laurie, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of TearSolutions. “With the support of our investors, we are excited to move this discovery forward.”
The discovery emerged from an unbiased screen for novel tear regulatory factors in Dr. Laurie’s lab at UVA, where he is Professor of Cell Biology and Ophthalmology. TearSolutions was cofounded with experienced eye care executive Mark Logan, CEO, to advance the development of a first-in-class topical treatment for dry eye. The drug, Lacripep™, is a synthetic fragment of lacritin that in preclinical studies, promotes tearing and reduces cellular stress to restore corneal health and reduce inflammation. Licensed from UVA’s Licensing and Ventures Group, the company expects to move the drug through a phase I/II clinical trial towards its continued development as a safe and effective therapy for dry eye.
“We’re very excited about the commitment from investors of this caliber and believe that, coupled with the company’s experienced leadership, TearSolutions is very well positioned to deliver on the full clinical and commercial potential of this exciting technology.” said Patrick Klepcyk, Associate Director of UVA LVG.
At least 6% of the world’s population suffers from dry eye, with higher prevalence in postmenopausal women and the elderly. Most dry eye patients are selectively deficient in lacritin resulting in insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Patients suffer from irritated eyes, blurred vision and, in more advanced cases, damage to the surface of the eye.
About TearSolutions LLC
TearSolutions is a development-stage biotechnology company that is advancing a novel, first-in-class topical treatment for dry eye through phase I/II human clinical trials for exit. The drug, Lacripep™, is a synthetic fragment of the human tear protein, lacritin. Topical lacritin is a breakthrough opportunity that in preclinical studies eliminates corneal staining and independently promotes basal tearing without irritation for hours by natural physiological processes.
Colin M Rolph, CFO