Published 22nd February 2016

Innovations leads funding round in Precision Ocular Ltd

Imperial Innovations has led a £13.5 million investment round in Precision Ocular Ltd (Precision Ocular), a London-based retinal therapeutics company.

Innovations has committed £6.9 million to the round alongside other investors, including Consort Medical plc, a leading global single source pharma services drug and delivery device company with whom Precision Ocular has a strategic development and manufacturing agreement; NeoMed, an international venture capital firm focused on the healthcare industry; and Hovione Scientia Ltd, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer specialising in particle engineering and drug encapsulation with whom Precision Ocular is developing proprietary drug products.

Precision Ocular was founded in late 2014 by Chief Executive Officer Tom Cavanagh and Chief Scientific Officer Ron Yamamoto. Juliet Thompson, VP Corporate Finance, joined the company in 2015. All three have extensive experience in the field. Cavanagh was formerly co-founder and President of Aciex Therapeutics, which was sold in 2014; Yamamoto has a proven track-record in drug and medical device development, having previously developed and launched a number of ophthalmic products. Thompson has been advising and fundraising for healthcare companies for 20 years and was a founder of Code Securities, a healthcare investment banking firm which was sold to Nomura.

Precision Ocular’s novel retinal treatments are engineered to access specific small spaces in the eye and to provide unique drug distribution to tissues specifically involved in retinal diseases, effectively optimising the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of both existing and new ophthalmic therapeutic agents. The unique approach aims to increase therapeutic effectiveness, reduce side-effects and minimise frequency of treatment for certain patient groups. The team is developing treatments for prevalent retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), retinal vein occlusion (RVO), uveitis and cystoid macular edema (CME).

Tom Cavanagh, CEO of Precision Ocular commented:

“We are very pleased to have secured this important financing, led by Innovations and joined by other quality investors and strategic partners. We are now well positioned to accelerate development of our best-in-class technologies and advance our leading programs into human clinical studies”.

Nigel Pitchford, Chief Investment Officer of Imperial Innovations added:

“Precision Ocular provides Innovations with an opportunity to invest in a motivated team that has highly relevant experience in ophthalmology drug delivery, formulation and markets. The team has developed both a novel delivery system and a formulation to match.

“Most ophthalmic drugs are delivered by topical application in eye drops or direct injection into the vitreous humor, but are limited by difficulties in achieving and sustaining therapeutic drug levels.

“Precision Ocular is pioneering an approach that offers tailored drug distribution and a likely reduction in side-effects, by virtue of the fact that the active drug will not contact the whole eye. Their approach packages the drugs in a novel form that allows easy administration, ocular distribution and controlled release. We believe Precision Ocular has the potential to develop a platform technology with broad applicability.”