Altheos grabs $12.5M more, launches glaucoma trial

Drug developer Altheos has expanded its Series A round by an additional $12.5 million, just in time for the launch of a Phase IIa dosing trial for its glaucoma treatment.

The South San Francisco startup can now herald the fact that its "A" round raised a not-insignificant $32.5 million. Existing investors Bay City Capital, Novo A/S, Canaan Partners and others contributed the additional bucks. With all the extra cash now in hand, the company says it is well-prepared to complete a Phase II clinical program and head into Phase III for ATS907. The drug is a Rho-kinase inhibitor billed as part of a new class of glaucoma drugs.

Altheos bills the trial as a "first-in-human study" that will test ATS907 to see how safe, well-tolerated and effective it is at different doses over 28 days. About 75 patents with glaucoma or ocular hypertension will take part in the trial's first portion, according to trial details posted on Another 180 patients are envisioned for the second phase, in which they will randomly receive either ATS907 or the drug latanoprost.

In August 2010, the company secured $20 million for what turned out to be the first part of its Series A round. CEO Henry Hsu noted at the time that glaucoma patients haven't had a new class of drug approved in 15 years. ATS907 is designed to lower intraocular pressure, reducing the risk of vision loss as a result.

- here's the release
- check out details of the planned trial