EyeTechCare SA has announced the completion of a €7.5 million funding round to finance the further development of a non-invasive device that uses ultrasound to treat the eye disease glaucoma. The money came from Lyon-based insurance company SHAM, a first time investor, and Crédit Agricole Private Equity (CAPE), one of EyeTechCare’s existing shareholders.
“We were favourably impressed by the EyeTechCare team, whose innovative medical device should fill a major therapeutic void in the treatment of glaucoma and could prove a real technological breakthrough in overcoming this disease,” said SHAM’s head of investments, Olivier Szymkowiak. SHAM subscribed €3 million to the financing.
Crédit Agricole Private Equity, one of France’s leading venture capital firms, provided the balance of €4.5 million. “We have been following EyeTechCare’s development since it was founded in July 2008, when we first invested in the company,” said Alexia Perouse, partner at Credit Agricole Private Equity. “We believe that EyeTechCare will succeed in bringing this new therapy for glaucoma to the world market within the next three years, which will bring a major change in the treatment of this disease.”
In its first funding round in July 2008, EyeTechCare raised €1.2 million from Credit Agricole Private Equity and CEA-Investissement, enabling it to complete preclinical studies. The funds raised in this second financing will be used to complete the first clinical trial in humans, as well as establish the manufacturing facilities and the sales and marketing force required for this first product, whose market launch is scheduled for early 2011.
Glaucoma is characterised by a build-up of pressure in the eye, caused when the eye generates too much aqueous humour. It is the second most important cause of blindness in the world and there is still no wholly effective and definitive treatment for it. Seventy million people worldwide suffer from the condition. EyeTechCare’s device uses High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) to reduce intraocular pressure by partially and accurately destroying the ciliary bodies that produce aqueous humour.
Based in Rillieux-la-Pape, near Lyon, EyeTechCare was founded in 2008 by three managers with complementary expertise in the medical, industrial and regulatory fields. The company has submitted five patent applications in conjunction with the Lyon-based laboratory (Unit 556) of Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. The company has now raised a total of €8.7 million since its formation.