Aerie Pharma banks $30M round for Ph3 glaucoma drug study

Six years after its first venture round, Aerie Pharmaceuticals is back with an announcement that it has raised $30 million in a second round as it prepares to push its lead ophthalmology drug into a late-stage study.

The biotech has been working on a pipeline of new glaucoma meds, leading off with AR-12286, a Rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibitor designed to lower intraocular pressure by improving outflow of fluid via the trabecular pathway. The biotech reported that 12286 had completed a successful Phase Iib trial back in September. A late-stage study is scheduled to begin later this year.

"We are gratified and encouraged by this strong show of support from an outstanding group of leading life sciences investors," said Tom van Haarlem, MD, President and CEO of Aerie. "Glaucoma is still the second leading cause of visual disability and blindness in the world today. We are excited about the potential for Aerie's compounds to offer multiple, improved and differentiated treatment options for millions of patients suffering from this widespread, degenerative disease."

Clarus Ventures and Sofinnova Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Osage University Partners, and existing investors Alta Partners and TPG Biotech. Back in 2005 Aerie--which has operations in Research Triangle Park, NC and in Bridgewater, NJ--reported that it had raised a $21 million Series A.

- here's the Aerie release