PowerVision ropes in $30M in Series D for intraocular lens implant

PowerVision's fluid intraocular lens--Courtesy of PowerVision

PowerVision roped in $30 million in Series D financing to support development of its innovative fluid-based intraocular lens implant.

Existing investor Venrock led the round, and new investors such as Aisling Capital and Correlation Venture Partners also contributed funding. The Belmont, California-based company added $10 million to its $20 million closing earlier this year and plans on using the funds to pursue regulatory milestones for its FluidVision intraocular lens, CEO Barry Cheskin told FierceMedicalDevices.

"We expect to complete our CE-mark trial this year by the end of the year, a CE mark in 2015 and start an FDA trial at the beginning of next year," Cheskin said.

Unlike traditional implants, PowerVision's FluidVision lens contains fluid that moves in response to muscle movement, imitating natural processes that occur in the eye. The fluid becomes thicker for near distances and thinner when a patient needs to see far away. Patients outfitted with the implant do not need reading glasses or contacts.

Data presented at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Annual Symposium in April showed that patients who received the FluidVision lens in one eye as part of cataract surgery averaged better than 20/20 vision at a 6-month follow-up. The company implanted its intraocular lenses in 10 patients in March as part of a multicenter study and plans on enrolling a little over 100 individuals in its CE-mark trial, Cheskin said.

PowerVision is not the only company eyeing the intraocular implant market. In April, ForSight Vision5 raised $15 million in Series C financing and completed enrollment of a Phase II clinical study to support development of its noninvasive ocular implant therapy for eye diseases. Earlier this year, Irvine, CA-based Ivantis completed a $46.5 million round to fund an ongoing pivotal trial of its Hydrus Microstent, a tiny eye insert that relieves eye pressure by restoring natural outflow for built-up fluids.

Bigger name device outfits are also looking for a cut of the profits. In 2013, Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) closed a deal for OptiMedica to gain access to the company's laser cataract surgery system. The company's medical optics unit jumped 7.3% to $276 million in the third quarter of 2013 following its purchase of OptiMedica and regulatory wins for its intraocular lenses. In April, Bausch & Lomb won an FDA panel recommendation for its Trulign Toric eye implant, moving the company one step closer to full approval for its product.

"It's a novel market, in the sense that cataract patients are reimbursed for the base price," Cheskin said. "Just like in Lasik where people pay a little extra to get something extra, we believe patients will pay a little extra to get this product. It's like the holy grail, giving people the opportunity to see at all distances without glasses or contacts. We think we're the first company to deliver that."

- read the release

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