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$60M to Support Potential Treatment for Eyelash Mite Outbreaks

It could be the ‘first-ever drug treatment for this condition.’

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IRVINE, CA — Tarsus Pharmaceuticals has announced the completion of $60 million in Series B financing.

The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company will use the funds to start a Phase 2b/3 trial in the U.S. of its lead product, a drug candidate for treatment of Demodex blepharitis.

An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from blepharitis, and approximately 45 percent of them have clinical signs of Demodex mites, the company explains in a press release. Tarsus is developing a topical ophthalmic that “targets an underlying cause of blepharitis and has the potential to be the first-ever drug treatment for this condition,” according to the release.

The funding will also fuel Phase 1 and 2 development of other clinical programs. The company’s product pipeline includes additional indications in eyecare and other areas of high unmet clinical need, according to the release.

“We’re excited to support this innovative company that is developing the first drug for Demodex blepharitis and building a pipeline of products to address other large market opportunities,” said Dr. Chen Yu, managing partner at Vivo Capital.

Michael Ackermann, Tarsus chairman, said, “We founded Tarsus with the mission of bringing to market the first drug for Demodex blepharitis, an important unmet need and one of the largest diseases in anterior segment medicine.”

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Dr. Bobby Azamian, Tarsus CEO, added, “We are grateful for support from a leading syndicate of healthcare investors. This financing will allow Tarsus to grow, conduct a first registration study in Demodex blepharitis, and broaden our mission to deliver innovative therapies in eye care and beyond by advancing our clinical pipeline in 2020.”

The financing was led by Vivo Capital and included Frazier Healthcare Partners, Flying L Partners, Visionary Ventures, Aperture Venture Partners and Horowitz Group.

 

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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Essilor International Gets New CEO

He’ll serve on the board of directors of EssilorLuxottica.

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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, FRANCE – The board of directors of EssilorLuxottica has named Paul du Saillant as a director of the company in place of Laurent Vacherot, former CEO of Essilor International, who retired.

Effective immediately, du Saillant will take over Vacherot’s responsibilities, including the role of CEO for Essilor International and the coexecutive delegate powers previously granted to Vacherot on May 13, 2019, by Leonardo Del Vecchio, executive chairman, and Hubert Sagnières, executive vice chairman. He will work directly with Francesco Milleri, deputy chairman and CEO of Luxottica Group, “to develop and implement the EssilorLuxottica strategy and integration process,” according to a press release.

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In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, the board also decided today to postpone the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting from May 15 to June 25 and to hold it behind closed doors.

Additionally, the board decided to re-evaluate its previous decision on dividend distribution announced on March 6, 2020, at a later date. “At such later date, the Board of Directors may decide whether to confirm, reduce or cancel dividends based on the evolution of the situation,” according to the release.

Essilor and Luxottica completed a merger in October 2018 to form EssilorLuxottica. The organization was then plagued by infighting among its leadership.

In May 2019, a new settlement agreement addressed governance issues and set the basis for a “renewed start of profound collaboration” between Essilor and Luxottica.

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, “EssilorLuxottica and the two operating companies are implementing a contingency plan including cost and cash control measures, putting on hold non-crucial investment initiatives and rightsizing global capacity to meet current demand levels,” according to a March 27 press release.

The company stated that in light of the pandemic, its outlook for 2020 published on March 6 “is no longer valid.”

“During the second quarter, the Company expects revenue to further decelerate with a material impact on profitability,” the company stated. “At present, the Company has insufficient visibility to provide an assessment of the full scope of COVID-19 impact, as the situation remains volatile.”

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Stimulus Loans Could Be a $350B Payroll Lifeline for Small Businesses

In many cases the loans are forgivable.

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The stimulus bill signed into law by President Donald Trump last week includes $350 billion in loans for small businesses.

The loan provisions, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, are part of an overall relief package worth $2 trillion, Inc. notes. The goal is to provide individuals and businesses an economic lifeline during the COVID-19 crisis.

The loans are meant to cover up to 10 weeks of payroll expenses, up to a maximum of $10 million.  The money could be available within two weeks.

Inc. notes that the loans “can be converted into forgivable grants so long as the company doesn’t lay off employees.”

More details of the program are available here.

For more information on getting through these times, check out our COVID-19 Resource Center.

Read more at Inc.

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COVID-19 Resource Center for ECPs

Find advice on how to apply for benefits and tax breaks, communication toolkits, FAQs about your obligations as an employer, databases, disease trackers and more.

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COVID-2019

THREE SEPARATE PACKAGES approved by Congress over the past few weeks represent a more than $2-trillion dollar effort by the federal government to help Americans — and in some cases, small business owners specifically — deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As massive as that relief package is, it represents only a part of the assistance that’s available. Below are links to a wealth of resources from government, industry, corporate and community organizations that will help you deal with this unprecedented challenge. The list includes advice on how to apply for benefits and tax breaks, communication toolkits, FAQs about your obligations as an employer, databases, disease trackers and more. We’ll continue to update the list over the coming weeks. If you come across a great resource yourself or have an experience to share about applying for federal or other assistance, please let us know. We’re all in this together.

Places to Start

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an excellent breakdown of all the federal programs and aid for small business coronavirus assistance here.

The AOA offers guidance and updates to doctors of optometry at its dedicated coronavirus page.

Justworks.com, an HR solutions company, provides advice on applying for tax refunds, employee leave and other obligations, working-from-home tips along with a handy FAQ section.

Federal

Much of the assistance to small businesses is being channeled through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has a coronavirus resource page listing special loans, relief programs and the other assistance that is available to small business owners. You can find guidance on the loans here.

Meanwhile, the actual loan application page is here.

Need help interpreting the forms? SCORE, the volunteer business advice group, is offering assistance in filling out the SBA loan applications as well as running workshops and provding remote mentoring.

Taxes

To ease the strain on businesses, the federal tax return filing deadline has been pushed back to July 15, with businesses allowed to defer up to $10 million in payments, interest free. The IRS has provided details here.

There are also many tax breaks and credits available for employers who keep staff on or provide paid leave to sick workers or those looking after sick family members. More information on those tax changes can be found here.

Several states have already aligned their tax filing and payment deadlines with the new federal deadline. You can find out whether your business has more time to file or more time to pay state and local taxes this year as a result of the coronavirus here.

A list of similar initiatives in various states is available from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Corporate

Facebook has pledged to give up to 30,000 small businesses a total of $100 million in cash grants and Facebook advertising credits.

If you have team-members working remotely, Microsoft Teams is now free for use. The program includes a chat feature, video calling, 10 GB of storage for the entire team, 2 GB storage in a personal file plus various Office apps.

Many newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times have dropped their firewalls for coronavirus coverage. The Times’ dedicated section offers the latest news on the virus and features on topics such as layoffs and reduced hours as well as more general health FAQs.

An unemployment benefits finder is available here.

Specific Industry Resources

The Vision Council has assembled a “Coronavirus Implications” page with resources for eyecare professionals, including a state-by-state list to help determine which businesses can remain open and which must be closed during the COVID-19 crisis.

Tools

To help you manage your business through the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a toolkit for businesses and a customizable flyer for businesses to communicate their coronavirus efforts to customers.

Assess the potential impact to your business and gauge your readiness to respond with this COVID-19 Navigator from PwC.

Facebook is also offering a Resilience Toolkit “to help you prepare for disaster” and a Quick Action Guide to help you plan your emergency response and minimize downtime.

General

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of the best sources for accurate coronavirus information, with material available on infections in a business setting (how to implement social distancing, for example), printable hygiene posters and more resources for businesses and employees. The main page is here.

Need information on state or territorial health department? Here is a link to health departments in all 50 states, eight U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a plethora of information available, including reliable and up-to-date news on the coronavirus, travel advice, and an interactive COVID-19 dashboard.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance on on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 that you can download here.

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