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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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IND Over POC: The New Sweet Spot For Biopharma Dealmaking

Though clinical proof-of-concept has long been the goal of fledgling biotechs hoping to land a deep-pocketed partner or acquirer, data suggest reaching this inflection point may no longer provide an optimal risk-reward balance. Biotechs would be wise to partner earlier.

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.

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