Hybrid Contact Lens-Maker SynergEyes Gets $13.3M in Venture Round

2/6/09Follow @bvbigelow

During a recent discussion on the outlook in San Diego for venture funding in biotech, Sofinnova Ventures’ David Kabakoff noted that one way VCs are coping with the downturn is by broadening the syndication of their deals.

That’s apparent in the $13.3 million in Series C funding announced today by SynergEyes, a Carlsbad, CA, startup that’s developing and selling a line of hybrid contact lenses for vision disorders. The round led by De Novo Ventures of Palo Alto, CA, was joined by five other venture firms, Bio-Star Private Equity Fund of Petoskey, MI; Alloy Ventures of Palo Alto; Delphi Ventures of Menlo Park, CA; InnoCal Venture Capital of Costa Mesa, CA; and San Diego-based Windward Ventures.

Six funds in a $13.3 million deal means less capital is required from each firm. Accordingly, each investor also takes less risk and a smaller ownership stake than they otherwise would in a smaller syndicate.

SynergEyes, which was founded in 2001, has developed a new type of contact lens that combines two materials—a rigid gas permeable center and a soft, hydrophilic (i.e., water-attracting) outer skirt. The resulting “hybrid” lens is designed to combine the durability, and crisp, clear vision of a hard lens with the all-day comfort of a soft lens.

The company says it has FDA clearance for a variety of hybrid lenses for people with disorders like ametropia, a condition resulting from faulty refraction within the eye; keratoconus, in which the cornea forms a cone-like structure, and presbyobia, an inability to focus on nearby objects because of aging of the eye.

SynergEyes says it will use the money to expand its sales and marketing operations globally and to pay for development and clinical trials for next-generation hybrid lens products.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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