Alevca Ocular, an early-stage company based in San Clemente, California, has licensed four drug technologies from Case Western Reserve, each focused on treating eye infection and irritation.
In 2005-06, fungal keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) caused by a contaminated contact lens solution resulted in a worldwide outbreak. About a third of Americans who contracted the disease required a corneal transplant. Today, treatment for eye infections in some contexts—including some surgeries and as part of some diseases—remains a clinical need.
“Our initial push,” Alevca Chief Executive Officer Chris Magill said, “will be on drugs targeting inflammation from cataract, LASIK and other eye surgeries, as well as from microbial causes.”
Eric Pearlman, former professor and director of research in Case Western Reserve’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences from 1994-2014, developed and continues to direct the technologies.
During that time, Case Western Reserve’s TTO has guided Pearlman through development and legal protections to help advance the technologies.
“I have been working with Dr. Pearlman for nearly a decade,” said Michael Haag, TTO’s executive director of technology management. “I am gratified that his technology has the opportunity to benefit patients, and I am excited that Alevca, along with Dr. Pearlman himself, is primed to take this technology into the clinic.”
Now a professor and director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of California, Irvine, Pearlman’s research focuses on treating parasitic, fungal and bacterial infections. His work mainly involves corneal infections, such as fungal and bacterial keratitis, but also includes systemic disease.
Alevca, which has assembled a seasoned team of business and scientific experts including Pearlman, is preparing to complete financial and regulatory steps to bring Pearlman’s technology to clinical trials as soon as possible.
Alevca was invited to the prestigious J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Jan. 8-11, a conference designed to connect early stage companies with investment opportunities. Alevca is seeking Series A funding.
“The Case Western Reserve licenses are essential components of Alevca’s development plan, and we appreciate the support the university’s Tech Transfer Office has provided and continues to provide as we grow our organization,” Magill said. “We aim to partner with big pharma to help accelerate programs and bring the drugs to market.”