Glaukos snags $30M venture round for tiny eye stent

Glaukos raised $30 million to support its iStent device--courtesy of Glaukos

Glaukos, maker of the smallest device ever approved by the FDA, hauled in $30 million in venture funding, headlined by VC giants OrbiMed, InterWest and Facebook ($FB) investor Meritech.

In June, Glaukos picked up FDA approval for iStent, a microinvasive device designed to relieve eye pressure caused by fluid buildup during cataract surgeries on glaucoma patients. The company has been working through the commercialization process ever since, and $30 million will likely go a long way in getting iStent shipped to as many surgeons as possible. We don't know Glaukos' exact plans for the cash; the company didn't respond to phone calls Wednesday.

At 1 mm in length, iStent is the first microbypass technology designed to drain fluid build-up in intraocular surgery. The device creates a permanent opening in patients' trabecular meshwork, preventing harmful intereye pressure that can result in nerve damage and loss of vision.

For now, Glaukos is the only game in town, but California's Ivantis recently pulled in $27 million of its own, supporting four studies around the world of its Hydrus Microstent. That eyelash-sized device works similarly to relieve fluid-caused pressure, and Ivantis is in the midst of amassing data to support an eventual FDA application.

- here's Glaukos' SEC filing

Special Report: Top 10 device and diagnostic FDA approvals of 2012

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