Upstart Ophthotech inks VC, licensing deals

Princeton, NJ-based Ophthotech is off and running with a first round of $36 million, an in-licensing deal on a promising approach to age-related macular degeneration and a management group with some deep experience in the field. In the licensing deal, Archemix granted Ophthotech--which is being run by a group of ex-Eyetech execs--worldwide rights to all ophthalmic uses of Archemix's proprietary aptamers targeting the C5 component of the complement cascade. "We believe that the anti-C5 aptamer blockade represents a potential breakthrough therapy for dry and wet AMD," said CEO Samir Patel, M.D. Archemix was a 2007 Fierce 15 company.

In another recently announced deal, OSI's Eyetech agreed to transfer to Ophthotech all rights in the PDGF aptamer program, including rights to its pre-clinical compound E10030, in exchange for an up-front cash payment, an equity interest in Ophthotech and potential future milestones and royalties. No details were provided on either deal. SV Life Sciences, HBM BioVentures and Novo A/S were engaged in the venture round.

- here's the release for more information

ALSO: FoldRx has snagged $22 million from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to develop and commercialize new drugs for the condition. The deal represents about a third of the cash raised by FoldRx and represents another sizeable investment in biotech by a charitable organization. Release