Devices & Diagnostics

Ophthalmology incubator’s latest spinout — backed by big VC firms — raises $8 million

The fifth company spun out by the ophthalmology-focused incubator formed by Versant Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures and Split Rock Partners has raised $8 million.

Company name: ForSight Vision 5.

Industry: Ophthalmology.

Location: Menlo Park, California.

Solution/product: This is the fifth and most recent spinout of ForSight Labs, an incubator formed by Morgenthaler Ventures, Split Rock Partners and Versant Ventures to launch startups focused on developing solutions to improve sight and quality of life for the visually impaired. It’s described by investor Morgenthaler Ventures as a developer of “novel device solutions for ophthalmic diseases” and by Versant Ventures as “developing novel ocular drug delivery technologies.” A call to President and CEO Angela Macfarlane seeking details was not returned.

ForSight’s second spinout company, ForSight Newco II, focused on an ocular drug delivery system, was acquired by QLT Inc. in 2007. Its other ventures target glaucoma, corneal refractive surgery and retinal diseases.

Money raised: $8 million, following $6 million raised in 2011.

How it will be used: It’s hard to say, but the company appears to be preclinical, as no trials are listed in the clinical trial database.

Investors: Existing investors include Morgenthaler Ventures and Versant Ventures.

Management team: Macfarlane has served as technology counsel to The Foundry and to physician-entrepreneur Tom Fogarty, as well as to several medical device companies including TransVascular Inc., AneuRx Inc. and VidaMed Inc., all acquired by Medtronic.

Market size: Propelled by an aging population and an increased focus on combination therapies, the ophthalmology drugs and devices market is expected to reach $52 billion by 2017, according to a MarketsandMarkets research report.

Competitors: Big players in the ophthalmology device market include Abbott Medical Optics, Alcon and Bausch & Lomb. In drugs, Merck, Pfizer and Roche rule.