EyeTechCare nails $13M in funding for glaucoma ultrasound device

EyeTechCare's EyeOP1 treats patients for glaucoma.--Courtesy of EyeTechCare

EyeTechCare pulled in $13 million in a third round of financing, the French company has disclosed. The money will fuel a U.S. regulatory regimen for its glaucoma ultrasound treatment device, completion of a pivotal human clinical trial, and market expansion in Europe.

"It's a real acknowledgement for EyeTechCare," CEO Fabrice Romano said in a statement. "This funding means that we can consolidate our presence on the European market and prepare for entry into the U.S. market."

Previously, EyeTechCare raised $9.7 million in a 2010 Series B round and just over $1.5 million in a 2008 Series A round when the company first launched. Private investor Bernard Chauvin led the company's latest round, alongside existing investors Omnes Capital (formerly Credit Agricole Private Equity) and SHAM, an insurer based in Lyon, France.

Over the past two years, EyeTechCare completed its EyeMUST trial, which tested its EyeOP1 device on 60 glaucoma patients in France. The company obtained a CE mark in 2011.

EyeTechCare's focus on the European market first makes good sense. The regulatory process takes longer in the U.S., and approval in Europe has allowed the company to roll out its ultrasound glaucoma treatment gradually, build a business and collect vital postmarketing data. And EyeTechCare has a compelling product that could elevate existing standards of care for glaucoma, considering glaucoma is treated with invasive surgery and can cause blindness if not treated in time. Ultrasound offers a noninvasive, outpatient alternative in a global market that surpasses 60 million people globally, according to statistics cited by the company. Other competitors are out there, but they have focused more on implants and other more invasive treatments.

Now, EyeTechCare has its sights on the U.S. market and is well underway with its EyeMUST 2 trial involving 120 patients at 10 centers around the world. The company's new funding will help finish the trial and publish the results by 2013, with a goal of filing with the FDA by the end of this year.

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