Many of us are familiar with various kinds of LASIK surgeries that help us get rid of prescription glasses, but for 140 million patients globally a laser treatment can save them from partial or even full-on blindness. Today (Wednesday) Israeli startup Belkin Laser, which develops a quick and easy laser treatment for those with visual impairments, announces a $12.25 million Series B funding round led by Rimonci Capital and Santen Ventures, with CR-CP Life Science Fund, BioLight Life Sciences, and C-Mer Eye Care Holdings also participating in the round.
Any eye doc can perform the treatment
Belkin Laser’s treatment is intended for those who suffer from glaucoma or ocular hypertension (OHT), with both leading to potential visual impairment, and can even lead to total blindness. The main problem is that with so many people suffering from these problems, there are only a few thousand glaucoma specialists that can treat these patients. While Belki’s treatment is easy, automated, and can be done by every eye doctor, enabling the many millions that suffer clear cut access to a potential sight-saving treatment.
The treatment, which is a one-second-long painless procedure utilizes laser energy to treat the defected part in the eye. The procedure uses an eye-tracking algorithm, essentially removing the need for a laser focusing lens, turning the whole treatment automated.
Prior to the Series B round, Belkin Laser had raised a total of $6.6 million, including a $2.5 million 2017 Series A funding round. While also receiving, like many other innovative Israeli startups, a $3 million grant from Horizon 2020, as well as some cash from Israel Innovation Authority. The company, which was founded in 2013 by Michael Belkin, intends on using the newly acquired funds for further clinical trials and starting clinical treatments in Asia.
Belkin Laser CEO, Daria Lemann-Blumenthal said: "These investments signal to us that the industry has trust in our technology which will impact the lives of millions of glaucoma patients by opening a new viable drop-less treatment option. The funds will be used to continue GLAUrious, our multi-center trial in Europe, and initiate trials in Asia. Our team’s hard work has paid off and the good news is that fast, easy, and effective glaucoma treatment is one step closer for millions of patients."
The product stems from the mind of Prof. Michael Belkin, who is also the company’s medical Director, ExPress inventor, which is a glaucoma surgery implant that was purchased by Belkin 8 years ago for $180 million. Belkin was joined by Dr. Ziv Karni, CEO of Alma Lasers, which was acquired in 2013 for $240 million.
Rimonci Capital CEO, Richel Liu said "As an early investor in both series A and B, I’m extremely impressed by what BELKIN Laser has accomplished so far - from proof of concept to positive first-in-human results and finally the nuanced development process of the commercial device. The capability to give greater access to glaucoma care is even closer."