August 7, 2019
by Deirdre Newman
An ophthalmology startup is seeking $10 million to complete two phase II clinical trials and continue making other products.
This company also has a lot of drugs in the pipeline.
Iacta Pharmaceuticals, with HQ in Irvine, has raised almost $1 million to date.
Lead founder and CEO Damon Burrows was associate general counsel for Allergan, which was acquired for $80 billion. He was also general counsel for Scilex, which sold for $70 million.
Following the sale of Scilex, Burrows — along with the other founders of Scilex — started Iacta to build a next-gen eye care company focused on taking advantage of advances in drug delivery technologies targeting the core problem in eye care: the inability to deliver drug product to the ocular tissues in effective doses.
Burrows recruited former top executives from Allergan to join the company. The experience they shared at Allergan inspired their innovation, Burrows said.
“We were able to assemble some of the top leadership at Allergan when (its HQ) resided in Orange County,” Burrows told OC Startups Now. “Our executive team helped build Allergan into a world class global eye care company. We are very excited about moving our programs into the clinic and generating near term value for investors.”
Iacta recently went through OCTANe’s LaunchPad accelerator.
“OCTANe is a great supporter of life science in Orange County as well as an incubator of some very exciting new technologies,” explained Burrows. “We received great feedback going through the process and appreciate the support it provided.”
One of the drugs they’re working on is an eyedrop to relieve morning eyelid congestion. It’s a combination product targeting redness and lid swelling. This condition is extremely common but there are no products currently approved by the FDA to treat it, Burrows said.
It’s also working on another drug, which targets the signs and symptoms of dry eye. This is a new chemical entity (NCE) which holds “great promise” given the significant unmet medical need for dry eye.
“We also have a nanoenabled cyclosporine IC 133 targeting dry eye which allows for up to 10 times the drug delivery into tissues of the eye,” Burrows said. “It does so without castor oil or surfactant.”
And, IACTA is working on a “potent” ocular antibiotic.
“If approved, it will be the most potent antibiotic on the market with excellent coverage of resistant bacteria, including methicillin resistant staff aureus,” Burrows said.