Azura Ophthalmics announced it has completed a $16 million Series B funding that will enable Azura to advance development of drug therapy for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) to the next stage of clinical research. The round was led by a syndicate of OrbiMed, TPG Biotech, and Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund with participation from an existing investor Ganot Capital.
Azura Ophthalmics also announced that Anat Naschitz, OrbiMed; Heather Preston, TPG Biotech and Chris Nave, Brandon Capital will join the board of directors alongside Guy Katsav, Ganot Capital, Marc Gleeson, and Yair Alster.
Azura founders and executive team bring decades of experience working at both start-ups and ophthalmology companies.
Yair Alster, MD, Azura founder and Chief Technology Officer, previously cofounded several companies in the ophthalmic space, among which are Forsight Vision 4 (sold to Roche-Genentech), Forsight Vision 5 (sold to Allergan) and Notal Vision, a commercial stage company.
Marc Gleeson, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, spent 14 years at Allergan as Vice President of Global Marketing for Ophthalmology. After leaving Allergan he joined Oculeve, another dry eye company who developed the Oculeve Intranasal Tear Neurostimulator device, now TrueTear, which was ultimately acquired by Allergan. Most recently, Azura named Charles Bosworth as Chief Medical Officer, the latest addition to an experienced clinical team.
“Our leadership team has had tremendous success, not only in ophthalmology start-ups, but also specifically in dry eye drug development and commercialization. The appointment of Charles Bosworth brings the necessary clinical and dry eye experience to our innovative approach to MGD. We are pleased to have such an accomplished healthcare leader join the team,” Marc Gleeson, Chief Executive Officer, said in a company news release. “With the support of our syndicate of investors and Ganot Capital we’re able to significantly expand our clinical efforts and attract the right talent and experience to execute our vision of providing treatment to those suffering from this disease.”
“This latest round of financing validates the strength of our team’s accomplishments to date and will fuel Azura’s unique and innovative approach to treating dry eye,” Eugene de Juan, one of the founders, said in the news release. “We are now poised to further develop our clinical studies to demonstrate the drug’s efficacy and seek regulatory clearance.”
MGD patients represent one of the largest and most underserved segments in ophthalmology. If left untreated, MGD will alter the tear ?lm, causing eye irritation, in?ammation, and severe dry eye disease (DED). Azura Ophthalmics’ therapy is preparing for a phase 2a trial, having shown efficacy in an initial clinical proof of concept study.