Azura Ophthalmics Raises $20 Million to Study Treatment of Leading Cause of Dry Eye Disease

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MELBOURNE, Australia and TEL AVIV, Israel—Azura Ophthalmics, a clinical-stage company developing innovative therapies for meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and related eye diseases, announced the completion of a $20 million fundraising round. The round included participation from existing investors, including Brandon Capital's Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), OrbiMed, TPG Biotech and Ganot Capital. On the back of encouraging Phase 2 data, proceeds from the funding round will be used to advance Azura's lead product candidate AZR-MD-001 into a registration study for the treatment of MGD, an eye condition where the meibomian glands become dysfunctional, resulting in rapid evaporation of the tear film, Azura said in a statement.

Registration studies are the final stage before potential FDA regulatory approval. The first study will be carried out at 14 sites across Australia and New Zealand in the first quarter of next year.

Meibomian gland dysfunction is the leading cause of evaporative dry eye disease, a condition known to affect more than 30 million adults in the U.S. alone, presenting a huge unmet need globally.

“The current options we have to treat patients with meibomian gland dysfunction focus primarily on relieving obstruction and have not focused on the role of keratin within meibum. There are millions of patients with ocular surface disease and MGD worldwide; we need better treatments to help our symptomatic patients," said Dr. Preeya K. Gupta, clinical medical director of Duke Eye Center at Page Road and associate professor of ophthalmology at Duke University Eye Center, North Carolina.

“The promise of Azura's dermatological approach lies in its ability to open the glands, increase lipid production and restore tear-layer health, as well as preventing disease progression in patients with meibomian gland dysfunction,” Gupta said.