Baxter‘s (NYSE:BAX) venture capital arm bought a minority stake in Ocular Therapeutix and its slate of ophthalmic products, part of an $8.5 million funding round that also included existing backer Ascension Health Ventures.
Ocular Therapeutix president & CEO Amar Sawhney wouldn’t reveal to MassDevice.com how large a stake Baxter’s investment garnered, saying only that the investment doesn’t give Baxter any exclusive rights regarding an eventual buyout.
"They’ll be observers," Sawhney explained. "It was at a marked-up valuation from our November Series D extension. At the same time, it reflects the enthusiasm of our venture investors, because they chose to invest alongside Baxter."
"Baxter, obviously, is a key player in the biosurgery segment – they’re the largest biosurgery company out there, so it’s a good vote of confidence to have them," he said, adding that the funding round takes Ocular Therapeutix’s total funding to roughly $74.5 million.
"Through our investment in Ocular Therapeutix, we are continuing to incubate innovation that has the potential to address areas of unmet need, provide sustainable long-term growth potential and offer a sustainable competitive advantage," Geeta Vemuri, vice president and head of Baxter Ventures, said in prepared remarks.
Ocular Therapeutix plans to use the funding to back the development of its drug/device combination products using Sawhney’s hydrogel technology, and for the eventual launch of its ReSure ophthalmic surgical sealant.
Sawhney said the pre-market approval application for ReSure has been filed with the FDA and has "good momentum," confirming the company’s hopes for a nod later this year from the federal watchdog agency.
"Things have been moving well with the FDA," he told us. "All modules have been submitted, it’s in their hands. We’ve had several inspections. It’s got good momentum."
Sawhney, who’s slated to be a featured guest at the MassDevice.com Big 100 East event July 16, was named a White House “Champion for Change" last week.
Ocular Therapeutix closed enrollment in a Phase II study of its OTX-DP drug/device combination as an alternative to patient-administered eye drops for delivering post-surgery medication.