Venture Capital

Third Rock, SV bankroll another PhI/II for a new, improved and jab-free wet AMD drug

Scott Cousins

More than three years after raising a $45 million B round to get its lead drug into the clinic for wet age-related macular degeneration, two of PanOptica’s investors have come back with an $11 million add-on to do some more Phase I/II work with what they’re calling a next-gen formulation.

Third Rock and SV Health Investors are providing the Series B(b) funds to get a topical drug back into the clinic. In the first try at the Bernardsville, NJ-based biotech, researchers say they got a positive biological response in about half of the patients. But there clearly must have been some shortcomings with corneal toxicity.

This new version of the anti-VEGF PAN-90806, they said last year:

(D)emonstrated reduced corneal concentrations and a reduced risk of adverse corneal findings in exploratory non-clinical pharmacokinetic and toxicology studies, while maintaining excellent dose-dependent target tissue distribution to the central choroid and central retina.

Novo participated in the last round in 2014, but there’s no word in the statement about their continuing involvement in the early stage work.

“Currently, the only treatment options that we have for patients with wet AMD is through injections into the eye,” said Dr. Scott Cousins, director of the Duke Center for Macular Diseases at Duke Eye Center. “There is a need for a less invasive, less frequent treatment options. A topical eye drop has the potential to revolutionize treatment for serious ophthalmic diseases.”


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