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Start-Up Previews (10/2011)

Executive Summary

This Month's Profile Group: The New Ophthalmic Drug Players, features profiles of Imagen Biotech, KalVista Pharmaceuticals, ONL Therapeutics and Xcovery Vision. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Aleva Neurotherapeutics, cermaVEIN and Flex Biomedical.

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ONL Therapeutics LLC

ONL Therapeutics LLC is developing an experimental drug to preserve sight in people with detached retinas and other retinal disorders. The start-up aims to leverage understanding about FAS, a cell-based receptor that is a key cause of cell death in photoreceptors. ONL’s small peptide is designed to block the FAS receptor on cells of the eye, to keep the natural ligand from binding and keep the cells alive.

Xcovery Vision LLC

Xcovery Vision LLC is repurposing an anti-angiogenic cancer drug to treat wet age-related macular degeneration. The pharmacokinetics suggest the compound can be delivered orally with no adverse events and still reach the back of the eye in sufficient quantities to stop the growth of blood vessels that is the hallmark of wet AMD.


Treatment for often painful and unsightly varicose veins involves shutting down defective veins and rerouting the blood to nearby healthy veins. For the most prevalent type of varicose vein, the greater saphenous vein. the standard of care is endovascular thermal ablation, whereby the vein is heated from the inside, boiling the blood and sealing the vein closed. But nstead of using RF or laser energy to heat the vein by inserting a catheter with a guidewire, cermaVEIN has found success with simple steam ablation, which avoids boiling the blood and does not require a guidewire.

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