TearScience, a Morrisville, N.C.-based developer of a device to diagnose and treat chronic dry eye disease, has raised $44.5 million in Series C funding. New backers include Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, Investor Growth Capital and General Catalyst. Returning shareholders include De Novo Ventures, Spray Ventures and Quaker Bio Ventures.
TearScience, a privately-held medical device company, today announced the completion of $44.5 million of Series C funding from new investors Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, Investor Growth Capital and General Catalyst. The company’s existing investors, De Novo Ventures, Spray Ventures and Quaker Bio Ventures completed the round. The funding will allow TearScience to commercialize its devices designed for use by eye care professionals to diagnose and treat the most common form of chronic dry eye disease.
“We are honored and gratified to be joined by this premier venture syndicate which allows TearScience to launch its products worldwide while delivering a significant breakthrough in treatment of chronic dry eye disease,” said Tim Willis, chief executive officer and co-founder of TearScience. “This investment offers TearScience the financing and backing to maximize its business opportunity and allows the company to work in conjunction with ophthalmologists to deliver an integrated system to improve the lives of millions of patients afflicted with dry eye disease.”
Dry eye syndrome impacts 100 million people worldwide, of which, greater than 70 percent suffer from evaporative dry eye. Treatments for dry eye represent a global market of over $2 billion in sales with annual growth exceeding 10 percent. Dry eye experts believe that effective treatment needs to address deficiencies of the protective oily lipid layer of natural tears. TearScience’s devices have been designed to help eye care professionals effectively monitor and improve the essential lipid layer of the tear film.
“TearScience’s technology provides the most significant advancement in the past few decades toward the treatment of patients with evaporative dry eye problems,” said Alan N. Carlson, M.D. professor of ophthalmology and chief of the Corneal and Refractive Surgery Service at Duke Eye Center. “We have an enormous number of patients who are frustrated with their chronic dry eye condition. TearScience clinical results show that the therapy offers the ‘game changer’ we have been waiting for. TearScience’s products have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life for these patients.”
“We are pleased to be partnering with TearScience,” said Immanuel Thangaraj, managing director of lead investor Essex Woodlands. “The company’s technology will advance the treatment of dry eye disease. The size of the market and unmet need, the strength of TearScience’s clinical results and a leadership team with a proven track record of successfully launching products in the ophthalmic industry led us to this unique opportunity.”
TearScience has achieved European certification, CE Mark, to market its devices in Europe and is currently seeking U.S. FDA clearance. TearScience anticipates its products to be commercially available within the next 12 months.
This financing is the largest med tech venture capital funding in North Carolina and the Southeast this year, according to Cindy Clark, president of ibiliti, the new Center of Innovation for North Carolina’s advanced medical technologies industry.
Headquartered in Morrisville, North Carolina, TearScience has pioneered diagnostic and treatment devices for evaporative dry eye, providing significant clinical improvement. Of the more than 100 million dry eye sufferers worldwide, approximately 70 percent have evaporative dry eye caused by lipid deficiency of the eye’s natural tear film. TearScience’s integrated, in-office system is the first to enable eye care professionals to address the root cause of evaporative dry eye. For additional information, contact TearScience at info@TearScience.com.