Sustained-release glaucoma treatment nets $25M for Liquidia's Envisia

Liquidia Technologies launched a new company this week with $25 million in Series A funding aimed at developing an extended-release glaucoma treatment that could last for several months after one injection.

Envisia Therapeutics uses Liquidia's PRINT platform to design particles at the micro- and nano-scale that use a polymeric delivery system to prolong the release of a drug over time. With this engineering technology in place, Envisia's lead product ENV515 delivers a prostaglandin analogue to compartments in the eye over a long period of time, potentially giving glaucoma patients a reason to comply with a treatment regimen. Left untreated--and noncompliance is a major issue for glaucoma patients--the condition can lead to blindness.

"Envisia and the PRINT platform have the potential to reinvent approaches to ocular therapies, radically increase product performance and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes," Envisia Chief Scientific Officer Ben Yerxa said in a statement.

Liquidia has its hands in several different areas, such as vaccines and inhaled drugs, all using the PRINT platform to make its particles uniquely tailored for each application. Liquidia boasts on its website that PRINT is "the only technology in the world capable of independently designing and manufacturing precision particles of virtually any size, shape and chemistry."

And by spinning off its ophthalmology arm into Envisia with a sizable chunk of change to start, Liquidia can continue to operate at several different speeds and in several different arenas.

"The success of multiple programs using the PRINT platform over the last several years has led to a wide range of opportunities in multiple therapeutic areas," Envisia CEO Neal Fowler said. "With the formation and financing of Envisia, now we have the ability for both companies to optimally focus on their respective areas--ophthalmology for Envisia, and vaccines and inhaled therapeutics for Liquidia."

Investors in the Series A round included Canaan Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Pappas Ventures, Morningside Ventures and Wakefield Group.

- here's the release