PolyActiva pulls in $9.5M for intraocular implant work

PolyActiva will boost preclinical and clinical trials for intraocular implants to treat glaucoma.--Courtesy of NIH

Australian device/drug startup PolyActiva hopes to advance development of a number of intraocular and other implants thanks to a new $9.5 million funding round announced Feb. 19.

The Melbourne-based company drew in angel investors for the new round, among them a cadre of major firms including the Medical Research Commercialization Fund, Brandon Biosciences Fund 1, and Yuuwa Capital. PolyActiva secured an initial Series A funding round in 2011.

Plans call for boosting both preclinical and clinical trials for intraocular implants to treat glaucoma and severe eye infections, and also an osteoarthritis implant. Each of these products relies on a drug-delivery component through the use of a drug-polymer conjugate tech that enables sustained release of a treatment into the body. As the tech does its job and releases the drug, the implant dissolves over time. So far, the technology has shown promise in some animal trials.

Once those drug-coated implants reach the proof-of-concept stage with plenty of robust clinical data, PolyActiva plans to both seek commercial partners and also pursue licensing opportunities, CEO Russell Tait said in a statement.

"The investment reflects the confidence our investors have in our capacity to deliver," Tait said.

The intraocular device space has drawn attention from both Big Pharma and smaller companies. Glaukos, for example, raised $30 million in a new venture round earlier this month; the company is developing a tiny intraocular stent meant to drain fluid following glaucoma-related cataract surgeries. In recent months, Abbott ($ABT) also won the FDA's OK for a new intraocular-related eye surgery device.

- read the release

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