SARcode Bioscience, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company, completed a $44 million Series B private equity financing led by Sofinnova Ventures and augmented by Rho Ventures and existing investors Alta Partners and Clarus Venture Partners.
Proceeds from the financing will support further clinical development of SAR 1118, SARcode's lead compound for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. SAR 1118 is a first-in-class, topical small-molecule integrin antagonist that inhibits T-cell mediated inflammation, a key component of dry eye.
In a phase II, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 230 subjects with dry eye disease, SAR 1118 demonstrated an improvement in corneal staining at 12 weeks and an increase in tear production as early as two weeks. Subjects receiving SAR 1118 reported dose-dependent improvements in visual-related function at 12 weeks, which included the ability to read, drive at night, use a computer and watch television. SAR 1118 was well tolerated. Ocular adverse events were mostly mild, transient and related to initial instillation of the drug. SARcode plans to initiate pivotal phase III clinical studies with SAR 1118 in the second half of 2011.