Australia's OccuRx gets $5.2M in venture backing for ophthalmic drug development

An Australia startup, OccuRx, announced its formal launch to develop ophthalmic drugs, backed by U.S.$5.2 million in new venture capital funding. The launch coincided with OccuRx's first work, an antifibrotic compound, passing animal tests for ocular inflammation and fibrosis.

The company was spun off last year from Uniseed, a funding mechanism of three Australian universities. It, Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) and Brandon Capital Partners pooled their funds to make the combined investment in OccuRx.

MRCF itself was launched in April to invest U.S.$160.7 million in Asia biotechs, with Australia as its first target.

OccuRx CEO Darren Kelly

OccuRx is headed by CEO Darren Kelly, a professor at the University of Melbourne. He said that with the antifibrotic's proof of concept, he expected the company's lead treatment to enter clinical trials next year.

The new company already has patents on several chemicals to treat fibrotic diseases of the retina.

- here's the release