Ben Franklin Technology Partners issued the following announcement on Feb. 5.
The Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA) and Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP announced that they have made a joint investment totaling $500,000 in Ocunova Inc., a spin out from the Penn State University College of Medicine. This investment will aid in the development and clinical trials of a first-in-class drug candidate for the treatment of diabetic dry eye patients. DES is a disease affecting tear formation resulting in inflammation, discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability, potentially damaging the ocular surface. DES is estimated to affect up to 50% of patients with diabetes.
According to Michael Shine, Chief Executive Officer of Ocunova, more than three million diabetic patients experience chronic dry eye in the United States. “Current treatments are limited to either over-the-counter eye drops that provide temporary relief to the eye or two prescription, anti-inflammatory medications which have delayed onset of action, variable efficacy and side effects which limit compliance. There are no treatments approved for diabetic DES. Ocunova’s drug candidate, OCU-001, is designed to affect the underlying cause of DES, which is a novel approach,” said Shine.
“This investment is an example of Pennsylvania’s innovation ecosystem at its best,” said LSGPA President and CEO, Mel Billingsley, PhD. “Ocunova was founded by local entrepreneurs using world-class technology developed by Penn State College of Medicine researchers.” Stephen Brawley, President/CEO of Ben Franklin commented, “As always, we are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the LSGPA. Our joint investment in this project will not only help the company, but also those who suffer with the discomfort associated with this syndrome.”
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