CXL Ophthalmics bags $32m for minimally-invasive treatment for keratoconus

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CXL Ophthalmics (CXLO), an American clinical-stage company, has raised $32 million in a Series A funding round for developing a minimally-invasive treatment for keratoconus, a common form of corneal ectasia.

The Series A financing round of CXL Ophthalmics was led by AXA IM Alts through its Global Health Private Equity strategy. A syndicate of individual investors, which include major cornea specialists also took part in the funding round.

According to the clinical-stage company, the Series A proceeds will support in advancing EpiSmart, its transformative cross-linking system through phase 3 clinical trials to a new drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Michael D. Webb — CXL Ophthalmics President and CEO said: “EpiSmart has the potential to be a game-changer for the treatment for keratoconus. With a true epithelium-preserving (Epi-On) approach, CXLO is striving to deliver safer and more accessible care globally to the millions of patients at risk of vision loss.”

EpiSmart, which targets keratoconus, is designed to be extremely effective and minimally invasive with less discomfort along with a reduced recovery time compared to the existing standard of care.

CXL Ophthalmics claimed that its approach will raise the standard of care for keratoconus by enabling the simultaneous treatment of the two eyes while removing the necessity for further deterioration.

Curt LaBelle — AXA IM Alts Head of Healthcare Private Equity said: “Keratoconus is undertreated globally. The current standard of care, Epi-Off cross-linking, can be painful and require months of recovery, limiting its utilization.

“CXLO’s Epi-On approach has the potential to safely deliver vision-preserving treatment to millions of patients globally, including resource-limited areas where Epi-Off treatment would be untenable due to the risk of infection and inadequate access to follow up care.”

CXL Ophthalmics said that the findings of its recent phase 2 trial that assessed corneal cross-linking as a treatment for keratoconus showed improvements in visual acuity after EpiSmart treatment at levels identical to presently available treatments, but with a considerable improvement in safety and comfort compared to the existing standard of care.

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