PanOptica Takes $30MM Series A Round, Licenses Ophthalmic Drug From Astellas
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
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Demographic shifts leading to an increasing market, unmet medical need and potential interest from Big Pharma buyers are all compelling reasons for VCs to examine closely the opportunity in glaucoma. Add in the fact that because clinical trials are relatively straightforward and quick, it's possible to keep costs manageable, and one might expect venture capitalists to be rushing to form biotech start-ups in the glaucoma arena, especially since there's been no new mechanism of action in glaucoma in a long time. But the hurdle giving venture investors pause is the wholesale restructuring that will come to the glaucoma market next March, when a key patent for Xalatan expires.
Ophthalmology has long been a bright spot for venture investors given the potential market size, health care burden, and high unmet medical need associated with many eye diseases. Based on a recent analysis by Start-Up magazine, there is no sign that trend is diminishing. Using Elsevier's Strategic Transactions database, Start-Up found that private backers have poured nearly $1.8 billion into 58 ophthalmology start-ups since 1999, with the money split nearly 50/50 in terms of device and drug investments. This trend is likely to accelerate as a number of new acquirers emerge to play in what was once a niche area.