Neuroptix has raised $18.5 million in a Series B round of venture capital, to push development of a non-invasive eye test that it thinks may be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at its earliest stages.
Inventages led the investment round in the Acton, MA-based company, and Rockport Venture Partners acted as the company’s financial advisor. The money will be used to help advance the Neuroptix technology toward clinical trials, the company said.
The system, called Neuroptix Sapphire, is designed to use a laser eye-scanning device, combined with an eye drop, to identify Alzheimer’s-related proteins found in the lens of the eye. This could help doctors diagnose the disease at earlier stages. There is currently no single test that accurately diagnoses Alzheimer’s, so doctors use a variety of clinical assessments and lab measurements, according to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. Alzheimer’s robs people of their memory and thinking skills and affects more than 5 million Americans, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Pfizer’s donepezil (Aricept) is commonly prescribed to slow the progress of the disease, but no treatment is currently available that can reverse the mental decline.
“Our goal is to help patients, physicians and pharmaceutical companies combat the disease in its earliest stages, where intervention will do the most good,” said Paul Hartung, CEO of Neuroptix, in a statement. “We feel that the best way to achieve that is with a reliable, inexpensive and widely available test that can be performed quickly and accurately at point-of-care, to enable early intervention and careful monitoring of patients.”
Neuroptix was founded in 2001, and received a Series A round worth $1.6 million in January 2007 from Launchpad Ventures, Maine Angels, and Quan Ventures of Geneva, Switzerland, according to a prior company statement. In July of 2007, it said it received a $1 million milestone payment through a collaboration with Merck, the pharmaceutical giant.
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