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The Eyes Still Have It: Finding Cures For Diseases that Blind Remains Top Focus for Investors, Entrepreneurs

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Over the past few years's there's been no shortage of venture capital investments in companies developing potential treatments for diseases of the eye. Still, investors continue to find entrepreneurs with innovative new approaches to treat age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and other vision-imparing diseases.

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PanOptica Inc.

The founders of PanOptica are inspired by the big impact VEGF-inhibitors originally developed for cancer are having on the ophthalmic market. So much so, that they company aims to search out compounds from other disease areas such as cancer, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, and find those likely to have potential for serious eye disorders.

Venture Eyes Ophthalmology--And Likes What It Sees

Ophthalmology has long been a bright spot for venture investors given the potential market size, health care burden, and high unmet medical need associated with many eye diseases. Based on a recent analysis by Start-Up magazine, there is no sign that trend is diminishing. Using Elsevier's Strategic Transactions database, Start-Up found that private backers have poured nearly $1.8 billion into 58 ophthalmology start-ups since 1999, with the money split nearly 50/50 in terms of device and drug investments. This trend is likely to accelerate as a number of new acquirers emerge to play in what was once a niche area.

Venture Eyes Ophthalmology--And Likes What It Sees

Ophthalmology has long been a bright spot for venture investors given the potential market size, health care burden, and high unmet medical need associated with many eye diseases. Based on a recent analysis by Start-Up magazine, there is no sign that trend is diminishing. Using Elsevier's Strategic Transactions database, Start-Up found that private backers have poured nearly $1.8 billion into 58 ophthalmology start-ups since 1999, with the money split nearly 50/50 in terms of device and drug investments. This trend is likely to accelerate as a number of new acquirers emerge to play in what was once a niche area.

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