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MN Cup Winner MicroOptx Nears Closing of $2.8M Round
The Brown Glaucoma Implant by MicroOptx. (Photo from video by MicroOptx)

MN Cup Winner MicroOptx Nears Closing of $2.8M Round

The company is awaiting clearance to conduct human trials from the FDA. Once approved, MicroOptix will receive additional funds from an institutional source.

MicroOptx, the maker of an optical implant aimed at becoming a “cure” for glaucoma, is wrapping up a $2.75 million funding round—its largest to date.
 
Chris Pulling, the CEO and founder of the Maple Grove-based startup, told Twin Cities Business that 27 investors made up about half of the round—nearly $1.4 million. The other half of the capital, he said, has not yet been transferred over.
 
“The rest of the money is contingent on full IB approval with the FDA,” Pulling said, referencing the investigator’s brochure, a vital document used to summarize key information about a drug or device during its development for the U.S. market.
 
With approval from the FDA—which Pulling said should arrive “any day now”—MicroOptx will secure the last of the funds in the company’s $2.75 million round.
 
“The last $1.4 million will be from a single investor,” he added, “and that one is actually institutional money—the first institutional money we’ve taken so far.”
 
MicroOptx kicked off the funding round on October 18, just days after taking home the $50,000 grand prize at this year’s MN Cup competition.
 
The company held its first funding round in 2015, a year after its founding. At the time, it raised $2.6 million, which went toward developing its Brown Glaucoma Implant. The device aims to reduce pressure on the optic nerve with a minimally invasive procedure that can be completed in less than a minute.
 
Factoring in another $2 million MicroOptx raised in 2016, its funding total will near $7.5 million with the end of its ongoing round.
 
“This round of financing will get us out to 12 months from now, to about October,” Pulling said regarding the company’s next steps. Part of that plan, he noted, includes a 40 patient trial in Germany and Belgium.
 
“After that, we’ll have a good amount of human data and we’ll have submitted [forms] to the FDA for a pivotal clinical trial,” Pulling said.
 
However, in order to finance the pivotal clinical trial, MicroOptx will need to hold another funding round in 2018. The funding goal will be much larger, though, according to Pulling.
 
“About 12 months from now, hopefully we’ll be closing on up to $28 million,” he said, “and that will get us through the early stages of commercialization.”
 
Ultimately, Pulling is looking to have the company’s Brown Glaucoma Implant market ready by late 2020 or early 2021.