A private company, China Ophthalmology Focus Ltd., founded in 2018 and located in Honk Kong has recently raised $50 million in a series A round for the ophthalmic Asian market. The company has outlined that 21 research and development programs are in progress, including 9 innovative compounds and 12 generics that span dry eye diseases, glaucoma, wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), corneal diseases and inflammatory diseases of the eye. The company’s Chief Operations Officer (COO), Lit-Fui Lau, said China Ophthalmology Focus Ltd. (COPFL) will plan to list the company on the Hong Kong stock exchange’s biotech chapter within two years.
According to Lau, the company’s most advanced novel ophthalmology candidates are currently in Phase II testing: a gel formulation of calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporine A with improved absorption for dry eye; and ZKY001 (LQ-7), a peptide analog of TB4, for corneal injury. The company is also nearing Phase II testing of resolvine endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an intravitreal urea injection, for diabetic retinopathy. Additionally, the company has identified Phase III programs including a generic ADRB1 inhibitor levobetaxolol for glaucoma. COPFL has several development programs in house and also working with CROs (Contract Research Organisation) and academic partners. Furthermore, the company states that “in-license assets to treat AMD, ophthalmic diseases with a high prevalence in Asia, technologies for drug delivery to the back of the eye without injection, and gene therapies and platforms that can be applied to multiple indications”.
The stated plans of the company indicate that series A funding will provide 18 months and thereafter, a plan of a series B round will secure additional 6-12 months. COPFL will then follow with a pre-IPO round to meet a HKSE’s HK$1.5 billion (US$192 million) market capitalization requirement for listing. COPFL previously spun-off from a parent company (Lee’s Pharmaceutical International Ltd.) and retains a 50.1% stake. COPFL comprises several investors including Wealthy Chance Fortune Ltd., Coyote Investment Pte. Ltd., Panacea Venture Healthcare Fund I LP, Smart Rocket Ltd. and Vertex Profit International Ltd.