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$37M in Funding to Support Cornea Cell Therapy

CorneaGen plans to expand its market share and continue developing corneal care products, services and technologies.

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SEATTLE – CorneaGen has announced the closing of a $37 million Series B financing.

The company plans to use the proceeds to expand its market share and acquire and develop innovative corneal care products, services and technologies. One of the most promising is cornea cell therapy, a treatment that involves culturing human eye endothelial cells and injecting them into the anterior chamber of a corneal blind patient’s eye, the company stated in a press release.

The injected cells have been shown to safely restore sight within a month, eliminating the need for more invasive corneal transplant surgery and transforming the lives of patients with impaired endothelial cell function who suffer from extreme vision loss or distortion, according to the release.

The Series B round was led by Flying L Partners in collaboration with Falcon Vision, a platform formed by KKR to advance innovation in ophthalmology. Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management also participated significantly in the equity round and provided a $25 million credit facility to provide additional growth capital to fund CorneaGen’s global expansion.

“CorneaGen is dedicating significant resources to finding new ways to prevent and treat corneal blindness that can be scaled to reach people around the world,” said Bill Link, managing partner of Flying L Partners. “Advances and innovation in corneal treatments up until now have been limited due to the fragmentation of the global market. We see this important, underserved market as an opportunity for CorneaGen.”

CorneaGen CEO Monty Montoya said the company is creating a subsidiary in Japan to drive obtaining regulatory approval to manufacture and commercialize cornea cell therapy.

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“A single donated human cornea yields sight-restoring Cornea Cell Therapy treatments for 100 or more patients, so this will be a game-changer for corneal blind people around the world, especially in areas where access to donor tissue is restricted,” Montoya said.

All patients in cornea cell therapy clinical trials in Japan reported clear corneas one month after the procedure and a full year of post-operative data shows their corneas continued to be healthy and clear, according to the release.

“As a cornea researcher and surgeon, I want to ensure that the maximum number of patients will benefit from our efforts to develop Cornea Cell Therapy,” said Dr. Shigeru Kinoshita of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan. “It is clear to my collaborators and me that CorneaGen is the ideal organization to realize the full potential of this treatment and we are excited to see our efforts advance under their leadership.”

CorneaGen also recently acquired the domestic eye bank operations of KeraLink International and now provides approximately 25 percent of domestic donor corneas for transplant surgeries.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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