Oculon Corp. announced Monday that it has completed a $10.8million private placement.

Just over half the money raised came from existing investorsled by Allstate Venture Capital. Three new major institutionalinvestors -- Invesco Strategic Portfolios Inc., Oxford BiosciencePartners and Kemper Securities Inc. -- contributed most of therest. Oculon of Cambridge, Mass., raised $9.4 million in June1992 in a private placement led by Capital Health VenturePartners and Fostin Capital.

The current private placement gives Oculon about $11 millionin cash on hand, which should serve its needs for 20-24months, Richard Woodrich, the company's vice president andchief financial officer, told BioWorld. The money also will beused to fund additional applications of the technology,Woodrich said.

"We are pleased with the promising results OC-2 has shown inPhase I clinical trials," said Lawrence Kinet, Oculon chairmanand chief executive officer. "These funds will enable us to moveforward with our current Phase II/III trials of OC-2 forinhibition of retinal surgery-related cataracts." Woodrich saidthe company expects to file a new drug application in 1996.

Oculon officials believe OC-2, which contains a fragment of a co-enzyme found in nearly all human cells, acts by preventingprotein molecules in lens cells from forming aggregates as aresult of changes in their net attractive forces. The proteinaggregates represent an early step in cataract formation. OC-2was identified through the application of phase separation.

Oculon, founded in 1987, has developed a cataract detectioninstrument, Opacitrac, which is expected to play a pivotaldiagnostic role in the company's treatment approach. Opacitracis designed to give quantitative, reproducible measurement ofcataracts in the lens cells of the eye, identifying cataracts attheir earliest stages, before they begin to affect vision.

Japan-based Nidek Co. Ltd. has licensed worldwidemanufacturing and commercialization rights from Oculon forthe Opacitrac system.

-- Jim Shrine

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.