EyeTechCare SA has announced that it has secured a third round of funding amounting to EUR ten million. Bernard Chauvin, a private investor, has taken an equity stake in the company alongside two of the existing investors who also contributed to this round of funding: the capital investment company Omnes Capital (formerly Credit Agricole Private Equity) and the Lyon-based insurer SHAM.
Since its last round of funding in 2010, EyeTechCare has completed the EyeMUST 1 trial, which tested the EyeOP1 device on around sixty glaucoma patients in nine centers in France.
In May 2011, EyeTechCare obtained the CE mark, allowing the company to start the marketing, sales and distribution activities required to bring EyeOP1 to market.
The device has been introduced gradually to the European market since the end of 2012 and a number of European distribution agreements have been signed.
The focus of EyeTechCare's clinical activity is the EyeMUST 2 trial, which was launched in the second quarter of 2012 and involves ten international centers and 120 patients.
EyeTechCare plans to use the funds raised to complete its EyeMUST 2 international trial, with results due to be published in 2014.
The company will also be able to fund the initial steps required by the FDA registration process. It plans to notify the FDA before the end of 2013 of its intention to bring the device to market.
"The simplicity of EyeOP1 comes from an uncomplicated yet brilliant idea: the use of ultrasound to treat glaucoma. Beyond the complex technical constraints, which have been incredibly well managed, there is a team with the desire to achieve their goal of helping patients," said Bernard Chauvin, MD, private investor.
Chauvin continued, "Quite simply, the results are there. I am proud to be associated with what is real therapeutic progress, particularly as it fits so well with my vocation as a doctor and an entrepreneur."
"We've been excited by EyeTechCare's market positioning right from the start. The arrival of this new investor will support the growth of the business," said Alexia Perouse, co-head of venture capital activity at Omnes Capital.
Perouse continued, "The company's prospects for development are very encouraging and the team in place has always been able to meet its self-imposed deadlines."
"We're truly honored to have the support of Bernard Chauvin, a renowned authority in the field of ophthalmology," said Fabrice Romano, CEO of EyeTechCare. "It's a real acknowledgement for EyeTechCare and our EyeOP1 product. This funding means that we can consolidate our presence on the European market and prepare for entry into the US market."
EyeTechCare's second round of funding in 2010 raised EUR 7.5 million from SHAM and Omnes Capital. In 2008, shortly after it was founded, EyeTechCare secured a first round funding of EUR 1.2 million from CEA-Investissement and Omnes Capital.
This initial funding enabled the company to undertake the preclinical trials of its EyeOP1 device for the treatment of glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second biggest cause of blindness worldwide. It is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure. There is still no fully effective cure.
Around 60 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. It is estimated that 8.4 million people are blind as a result. These figures are steadily increasing as the population ages.
The forecast is that by 2020, 80 million people will be suffering from glaucoma and 11.2 million people will have lost their sight as a result of this disease.
Bernard Chauvin will sit on the company's board of directors.