Eyetech vets launch Imagen Biotech with $40M A round

SV Life Sciences, Novo Ventures and Fidelity Biosciences joined forces to launch a new drug developer, Imagen Biotech, with "up to" $40 million in venture bucks to finance new work on treatments for dry AMD and other diseases of the eye.

New York-based Imagen's team will rely heavily on a pair of Eyetech veterans. Dr. Matthew Feinsod, who did a stint at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals and worked as a medical officer in the FDA's ophthalmology division, has been tapped to lead the effort as CMO. SV Life Sciences partner and former Eyetech CEO David Guyer will be executive chairman of the upstart and Duke's Scott Cousins was named CSO.

In its release the newly coined biotech says that it's still at the screening stage and is interested in doing some dealmaking. "We continue to seek collaborations worldwide with companies, researchers and institutions that have identified new pathways and/or compounds that might lead to a treatment for sight-threatening diseases with unmet needs, whether prevalent or rare," Dr. Feinsod said.

A call to Feinsod was not immediately returned.

Eyetech had an interesting history. Picked as one of our 2003 Fierce 15 companies, the biotech worked with Pfizer ($PFE) on an approval for Macugen, which launched in 2005. But the launch crossed with a hotter drug, Lucentis, from Genentech and Eyetech's stock was beaten up badly. OSI ended up buying Eyetech for $935 million. The bet ended poorly for OSI, as many analysts predicted it would. A year later Lucentis had grabbed the market share and OSI was signaling that it wanted out of the eye disease treatment sector.

- here's the Imagen release

Special Report: Eyetech Pharmaceuticals - 2003 Fierce 15 revisited