EyeTechCare raises EUR 10 million in a third round of funding

The funding will be used to complete the EyeTechCare EyeMUST 2 international clinical trial and to start the FDA registration process

Rillieux-la-Pape (France) – March 12, 2013 – French company EyeTechCare SA, which develops non-invasive therapeutic medical devices for the ophthalmology market based on the use of ultrasound, today announces that it has secured a third round of funding amounting to EUR 10 million. Bernard Chauvin, a private investor, has taken an equity stake in the company alongside the two of the existing investors which also contributed to this round of funding: the capital investment company Omnes Capital (formerly Crédit Agricole Private Equity) and the Lyon-based insurer SHAM.

Since its last round of funding in 2010, EyeTechCare has completed the EyeMUST 1 trial, which tested the EyeOP1 device on around sixty glaucoma patients in nine centers in France. In May 2011, EyeTechCare obtained the CE mark, allowing the company to start the marketing, sales and distribution activities required to bring EyeOP1 to market. The device has been introduced gradually to the European market since the end of 2012 and a number of European distribution agreements have been signed. The focus of EyeTechCare’s clinical activity is the EyeMUST 2 trial, which was launched in the second quarter of 2012 and involves ten international centers and 120 patients.

EyeTechCare plans to use the funds raised to complete its EyeMUST 2 international trial, with results due to be published in 2014. The company will also be able to fund the initial steps required by the FDA registration process. It plans to notify the FDA before the end of 2013 of its intention to bring the device to market.

“The simplicity of EyeOP1 comes from an uncomplicated yet brilliant idea: the use of ultrasound to treat glaucoma. Beyond the complex technical constraints, which have been incredibly well managed, there is a team with the desire to achieve their dream of helping patients,” said Bernard Chauvin, MD, private investor. “Quite simply, the results are there. I am proud to be associated with what is real therapeutic progress, particularly as it fits so well with my vocation as a doctor and an entrepreneur.”

“We’ve been excited by EyeTechCare’s market positioning right from the start. The arrival of this new investor will support the growth of the business,” said Alexia Perouse, co-head of venture capital activity at Omnes Capital. “The company’s prospects for development are very encouraging and the team in place has always been able to meet its self-imposed deadlines.”

“We’re truly honored to have the support of Bernard Chauvin, a renowned authority in the field of ophthalmology,” said Fabrice Romano, CEO of EyeTechCare. “It’s a real acknowledgement for EyeTechCare and our EyeOP1 product. This funding means that we can consolidate our presence on the European market and prepare for entry into the US market.“

EyeTechCare’s second round of funding in 2010 raised EUR 7.5 million from SHAM and Omnes Capital. In 2008, shortly after it was founded, EyeTechCare secured a first round funding of EUR 1.2 million from CEA-Investissement and Omnes Capital. This initial funding enabled the company to undertake the preclinical trials of its EyeOP1 device for the treatment of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is the second biggest cause of blindness worldwide. It is characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure. There is still no fully effective cure. Around 60 million people worldwide suffer from glaucoma. It is estimated that 8.4 million people are blind as a result. These figures are steadily increasing as the population ages. The forecast is that by 2020, 80 million people will be suffering from glaucoma and 11.2 million people will have lost their sight as a result of this disease. (Source: Canadian Ophthalmology Society)

Bernard Chauvin will sit on the company’s Board of Directors.

About EyeTechCare

EyeTechCare SA is developing non-invasive therapeutic medical devices for the ophthalmology market based on High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU technology allows ambulatory and rapid treatment to be performed, thereby limiting the cost and the risk for the patient.

The company’s first device, EyeOP1®, is for the treatment of glaucoma, a disease that affects about 2% of the world population and can lead to blindness. None of the therapies currently on the market provide a satisfactory cure for glaucoma. The treatments offered up to now have been constructed around eye drops, lasers and surgery, but they have limitations (low compliance, dependence on the operator, patient relapse, technical difficulties and so on).

EyeOP1(R) has been undergoing clinical trials in France and Europe and was launched onto the market at the end of 2012. The device utilizes the UC3 (ultrasound circular cyclo-coagulation) procedure, which makes it possible to reduce intraocular pressure by partially and accurately destroying the ciliary bodies that produce aqueous humor. The device obtained the CE mark in May 2011.

Based in Rillieux-la-Pape, near Lyon, France, EyeTechCare was founded in 2008 by three experienced managers with complementary expertise in the medical, industrial and regulatory fields. Today it employs close to 25 employees. The company has submitted eight patent applications in conjunction with the Lyon-based laboratory (Unit 1032) of Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. Since 2008, the company has secured nearly EUR 1.2 million in aid and subsidies from OSEO (the French innovation promotion agency), as well as official recognition from a number of state technology authorities. The company has raised a total of EUR 18.7 million since inception.

For more information, go to http://www.eyetechcare.com

Bernard Chauvin – Independent investor

Bernard Chauvin is a physician specializing in ophthalmology. He headed the Laboratoires Chauvin for 27 years (until its acquisition by Bausch & Lomb), prior to joining Neurotech, a French biotechnology company where he served as Chief Executive Officer until 2004. Since then, he has taken an active role as a director in the development of a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

About Omnes Capital (formerly Crédit Agricole Private Equity)

Omnes Capital is a major player in private equity, with a commitment to financing SMEs. With EUR 1.9 billion in assets under management, Omnes Capital provides companies with the capital needed to finance their growth and with key expertise in a number of areas: LBO and expansion capital, venture capital in technology and life sciences, renewable energy, Mezzanine, secondary funds of funds, co-investment. Omnes Capital, formerly Crédit Agricole Private Equity, was a subsidiary of Crédit Agricole until March 2012 when the company gained its independence. Omnes Capital is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).


About Sham

Created in 1927, Sham is a mutual insurance company specialising in risk management for players in the healthcare and socio-medical sectors. Sham is the number one medical civil liability insurer in France. It has 7,509 members – individual and corporate – and manages EUR 1.5 billion in assets invested in a range of media. Through its global approach to risk management, Sham offers its members a range of insurance and services that are fully tailored to their specific requirements. Sham employs 300 people and achieved a turnover of EUR 296.9M in 2011.

Contact: Romain Durand, http://www.sham.fr  

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