DURHAM, N.C. — Intersouth Partners, one of the original backers of Alimera Sciences, is among the investors giving the pharmaceutical firm a $15.9 million boost in funding.

The funds close out a “B” round of venture capital for Alimera, which raised $31.8 million over the past year. Alimera is based in Atlanta.

The company plans to use the additional funds to help cover the cost of a diabetic macular edema treatment known as Medidur that is in Phase III clinical trials. Alimera also plans to seek additional drug deliver technologies.

Macular edema is swelling related to tissues of the eye that can cause blindness. Alimera’s founders have experienced backgrounds in the ophthalmic industry.

Alimera, is working with Control Delivery Systems, a Massachusetts-based firm to develop an implant designed to combat vision loss among people afflicted with diabetes.

Alimera, founded by a team of former Novartis ophthalmics executives, raised a nearly $27 million A round in venture financing as it launched operations in 2004..

Alimera and Control Delivery Systems hope to win approval for the miniscule device that once implanted in the eye it would deliver a drug to treat diabetic macular edema for up to three years.

Other investors included BA Venture Partners, Domain Associates, Polaris Venture Partners and Venrock Associates plus several individual investors.

“The Alimera Sciences team is proud of the continued support we have received from our shareholders,” said Dan Myers, Alimera’s chief executive officer. “Alimera and our partners are confident in the progress we have made in the Medidur Phase III trial. We will continue to evaluate additional opportunities for our pipeline and prepare for the next stage of product development to assist the ophthalmic community in meeting the needs of its patients.”

Alimera was founded in 2004. It already sells an artificial tear product.

Alimera: www.alimerasciences.com