TearClear, an eye health technology company focused on developing a safe and reliable means of delivering preservative-free topical ophthalmic drugs, announced the completion of its Series A financing, with proceeds totaling $4.5 million. The round was co-led by Visionary Venture Fund and Bluestem Capital. The financing will provide sufficient capital to advance development of TearClear’s filter technology, the first and only system to assure the safe delivery of a preservative-free drop from preserved, multi-dose products, according to a company news release.
In addition, the company has assembled a team of accomplished ophthalmology veterans to drive forward the development of its filter technology, including William Link, PhD, who has been appointed to the Board of Directors.
The company’s innovative chemical filter removes benzalkonium chloride (BAK) at the point of instillation, allowing multi-dose product preservation until the moment of application. BAK is the most common preservative used in multi-dose topical ophthalmic drugs for the treatment of glaucoma, over-the-counter (OTC) dry-eye, and allergic conjunctivitis.
“BAK has been shown to be a significant cause of a host of adverse events with prolonged use, including ocular discomfort, glaucoma surgery failure, conjunctival inflammation and fibrosis, tear film instability, corneal cytotoxicity, and anterior chamber inflammation," Richard Lindstrom, MD, said in a company news release. "TearClear’s technology offers a compelling and differentiated approach to eliminating the preservative before delivery while allowing it to preserve sterility within the bottle.”
TearClear’s leadership team is comprised of globally recognized leaders in ophthalmic product development, medical practice and chemical manufacturing, including:
- Rick Heinick is Chairman of the Board. Mr. Heinick brings both entrepreneurial and corporate expertise through previous experience as CEO of early-stage ophthalmic businesses and an Executive Vice President at Bausch + Lomb.
- Kevin Hershfield has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hershfield formerly led chemical manufacturing and distribution businesses supporting medical and industrial markets.
- Richard D’Souza, PhD, formerly Head of Research & Development for Bausch + Lomb, has been appointed Chief Science & Technology Officer.
- Howard Golub, MD, PhD, founder and CEO of multiple medical diagnostic companies including Care-Safe LLC, has been appointed Head of Clinical Development.
“TearClear’s technology creates immediate value for topical ophthalmic drugs that comprise a $10 billion market worldwide. By reliably and efficiently keeping BAK in the bottle but out of the eye, we are able to directly influence improved global eye health," Mr. Hershfield said.
“This investment by Visionary Ventures, a fund comprised of leading ophthalmologists and venture experts, and Bluestem Capital, a team of deeply knowledgeable healthcare investors, is an important validation of our technology and recognition of the prevalent therapeutic need we aim to address. We look forward to future achievements together," Mr. Heinick said.