Aerie Pharmaceuticals Announces $21 Million Series A Financing; Company to Develop Innovative Products for Treatment of Glaucoma.RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK Research Triangle Park, research, business, medical, and educational complex situated in central North Carolina. It has an area of 6,900 acres (2,795 hectares) and is 8 × 2 mi (13 × 3 km) in size. Named for the triangle formed by Duke Univ. , N.C. -- Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of medical innovations in ophthalmology, today announced the closing of a $21 million Series A financing. The syndicate was co-led by Alta Partners and Texas Pacific Group Ventures. In connection with the financing, Geoff Duyk, MD, Ph.D., a managing director at TPG TPG Texas Pacific Group
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TPG Trésorier Payeur Général Ventures and David Mack, Ph.D., a director at Alta Partners will join Aerie's board of directors.
Building upon a portfolio of intellectual property licensed from Duke University Medical Center, Aerie was founded by Professor David L. Epstein, MD, Chairman of Duke University's Department of Ophthalmology, Professor Eric Toone, Ph.D., of Duke University's Chemistry Department, and Casey Kopczynski, Ph.D., now COO at Aerie. The company's initial drug discovery and development efforts are focused on creating a pipeline of proprietary products for the pharmaceutical treatment of glaucoma glaucoma (glôkō`mə), ocular disorder characterized by pressure within the eyeball caused by an excessive amount of aqueous humor (the fluid substance filling the eyeball). .
Today, many of the more than 3 million glaucoma patients in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. are treated with a first generation of prostaglandins Prostaglandins
Prostaglandins are produced by the body and are responsible for inflammation features, such as swelling, pain, stiffness, redness and warmth. analogs, using these eye drops eye drops eye npl → gouttes fpl pour les yeux
eye drops eye npl → Augentropfen pl to lower intraocular intraocular /in·tra·oc·u·lar/ (-ok´u-lar) within the eye.
Within the eyeball.
Literally, within the eye. eye pressure (IOP IOP
IOP Intraocular pressure, see there ). However, there is often a need to combine multiple medications to achieve and maintain satisfactory IOP levels, which may result in additional side effects Side effects
Effects of a proposed project on other parts of the firm. . Aerie's leading clinical candidate, AR-101, is the first of a second generation of prostaglandin prostaglandin (prŏs'təglăn`dən), any of a group of about a dozen compounds synthesized from fatty acids in mammals as well as in lower animals. analogs with the potential to provide both superior efficacy and an improved safety profile. AR-101 is expected to go into Phase I and Phase II clinical studies in 2006.
"AR-101 presents a major opportunity to provide improved treatment options to glaucoma patients, and this funding will accelerate our efforts to bring these innovative products to market," said Aerie President and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Tom van Haarlem, MD. In addition to the initial candidate, Aerie will also pursue development of a proprietary, breakthrough class of glaucoma product that incorporates novel chemistry to improve penetration of drugs into the eye. "There is tremendous potential for innovation in this area, with an additional large group of high risk patients with Ocular Hypertension Ocular hypertension (OHT) is intraocular pressure higher than normal in the absence of optic nerve damage or visual field loss.
Current consensus in ophthalmology defines normal introcular pressure (IOP) as that between 10 mmHg and 21 mmHg. who are currently undiagnosed and/or untreated. We have now brought together the talent, technology and ambition necessary to succeed," said Dr. van Haarlem.
"We are excited to help build what we believe will be an important company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics and diagnostics intended to prevent blindness and improve visual health," said Dr. Duyk. "Aerie Pharmaceuticals represents not only a company focused on the prevention and treatment of glaucoma, but a more general platform for the development and commercialization of products for the treatment and diagnosis of other categories of eye disease."
The company's business model centers on an experienced management team expanding core capabilities in medicinal chemistry Medicinal or pharmaceutical chemistry is a scientific discipline at the intersection of chemistry and pharmacology involved with designing, synthesizing and developing pharmaceutical drugs. and cell biology, while outsourcing non-core capabilities.
"Aerie has all the hallmarks of a promising early stage biotechnology company," said Dr. Mack. "Initial animal testing has been very encouraging. Our products target a rapidly growing $3 billion dollar global market that has seen little innovation and is ripe for improvement. We have a seasoned team of senior executives who will successfully shepherd AR-101 into the clinic, and we have provided the necessary capital to get them there."
The Series A funding will support the company's efforts to complete Phase I/II clinical studies for their clinical candidate AR-101, and to file an IND for a lead compound with a novel mechanism of action. Aerie is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. .
Aerie Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to the discovery and development of medical innovations in the field of ophthalmology. Based on intellectual property licensed from Duke University Medical Center, Aerie is developing a pipeline of proprietary products for the pharmaceutical treatment of glaucoma. Its lead clinical candidate, AR-101, is a second-generation glaucoma product with an expected superior efficacy and safety profile. AR-101 will enter clinical studies (Phase I/II) in 2006. Aerie's pre-clinical programs focus on the development of novel outflow drugs to lower intra-ocular pressure. Aerie is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
About Alta Partners
Alta Partners was founded in 1996 by four of the senior partners of Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co. (BEDCO), a pioneering venture capital firm formed in 1979 that focused on early-stage investing in life sciences, information technology and communications. The firm is viewed as a preferred venture partner due to its dominant market position in life sciences and the quality of its team. Alta Partners currently manages seven funds aggregating approximately $1.5 billion in committed capital. Since its founding in 1996, Alta has been one of the most active life science investors funding over 85 companies across the continuum from company formation to later-stage opportunities.
About Texas Pacific Group Ventures
In 2001, Texas Pacific Group Ventures closed their first institutional fund with over $500 million in capital. Their investment focus is on information technology, consumer and biotechnology companies. The Venture group is part of Texas Pacific Group (TPG), a leading global alternative investment firm founded in 1992 which employs more than 100 professionals in several investment fund platforms including US, European and Asian large-scale buyouts and venture capital. TPG manages more than $20 billion in capital through offices in Ft. Worth, San Francisco, London, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul, Tokyo, and Melbourne.