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Press Release

Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA Invest $500,000 in Ocunova Inc.

Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA) and Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP
Posted on: 05 Feb 18

The Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania (LSGPA) and Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP announced today they have made a joint investment totaling $500,000 in Ocunova Inc., a spin out from the Penn State University College of Medicine. This investment will aid in the development and clinical trials of a first-in-class drug candidate for the treatment of diabetic dry eye patients. DES is a disease affecting tear formation resulting in inflammation, discomfort, visual disturbance, and tear film instability, potentially damaging the ocular surface. DES is estimated to affect up to 50% of patients with diabetes.

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According to Michael Shine, Chief Executive Officer of Ocunova, more than three million diabetic patients experience chronic dry eye in the United States. “Current treatments are limited to either over-the-counter eye drops that provide temporary relief to the eye or two prescription, anti-inflammatory medications which have delayed onset of action, variable efficacy and side effects which limit compliance. There are no treatments approved for diabetic DES. Ocunova’s drug candidate, OCU-001, is designed to affect the underlying cause of DES, which is a novel approach,” said Shine.

“This investment is an example of Pennsylvania’s innovation ecosystem at its best,” said LSGPA President and CEO, Mel Billingsley, PhD. “Ocunova was founded by local entrepreneurs using world-class technology developed by Penn State College of Medicine researchers.” Stephen Brawley, President/CEO of Ben Franklin commented, “As always, we are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the LSGPA. Our joint investment in this project will not only help the company, but also those who suffer with the discomfort associated with this syndrome.”

About Ocunova

Ocunova Inc. is an ophthalmic drug development company whose lead compound, OCU-001, is a rapid-acting and safe-to-use treatment for diabetic Dry Eye Syndrome (DES).


The Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania speeds commercialization of life sciences technologies through early stage investment and business development services. To learn more about the organization’s investment philosophy or to download application guidelines visit

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP

Ben Franklin Technology Partners/CNP, an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, provides investment capital, business support services and TechCelerator startup boot camps to emerging tech-entrepreneurs and small manufacturers for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs in the Commonwealth. Visit

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Business Wire

Last updated on: 05/02/2018

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