Intersouth Partners and three other venture capital firms are giving pharmaceutical startup Alimera Sciences a tremendous boost with a whopping $26.75 million in venture financing.

The first round is largest Series A investment for a Georgia life sciences company, according to Intersouth.

Alimera, which was founded by a team of former Novartis Ophthalmics group, is licensing and producing prescription and over-the-counter ophthalmic products. The company was launched in 2003 and had already raised $1.2 million through “friends and family” financing, CEO and co-founder Dan Myers tells Local Tech Wire. He, his three co-founders and senior managers have 100 years of experience in working with ophthalmic products.

“If we don’t know by now what the doctor needs in the office, then there’s something wrong with us,” Myers, a long-time Atlanta resident and Georgia Tech resident, adds.

Alimera is the founder’s combination of two ancient Greek words intending to mean “Day of Truth”. Myers says the name evolved while the founders were creating the company in the midst of Wall Street corporate scandals.

The comapny will seek out products for licensing initially, Myers says. “We’re more commercially driven than other pharmaceutical companies. We will solve needs rather than research and develop compounds and market them just because we invented them.”

The quality of the management team intrigued Intersouth, which led the round and coordinated the development of the investing syndicate.

“They are an experienced group of managers, and that allows them to have access to ophthalmic products; everybody in the industry knows who they are, and they know where the market is going,” Kong tells LTW. “This opportunity is very encouraging.

Kong reviewed Alimera’s business plan at Intersouth and called Myers last fall for a meeting. Myers says Intersouth and Alimera signed a term sheet on April 19 and then helped bring on the other investors — BA Venture Partners, Domain Associates and Polaris Venture Partners.

Each company invested equally and will receive one seat on the Alimera board, Intersouth said in a statement.

Ted Bender of Croft-Bender in Atlanta helped advise Alimera through the fund-raising process.

Myers launched the business with Daniel White, Mark Testerman and Dave Holland. All worked at CIBA Vision Ophthalmics for more than a decade. The group was renamed Novartis Ophthalmics following a merger. The four left Novartis to launch a new company and incorporated last year.

Also part of the management team is Susan Caballa, vice president of regulatory and medical affairs, and George Minno, vice president of quality and development. They too worked at Novartis and have considerable experience in ophthalmics.

Myers says the company plans to bring its first products to the over-the-counter market in the next 18 months.

Kong, an MD and PhD, says he reviewed Alimera’s product portfolio. “Their pipeline is looking robust,” he says, “and they are already identifying potential products to license and putting them in the basket.”


Intersouth Partners: