Medical device startup Corinthian Ophthalmic has its eyes set on replacing an old standard in delivering eye drugs — the eye dropper.

The company has raised $2.2 million in equity investment from 11 investors to continue its work, according to securities filings.

Skip Ballou, Corinthian’s founder and president, said Raleigh-based Corinthian has taken no venture capital money. The financing from private investors will be used to continue R&D on the device. Investors listed on the securities filing include Fred Eshelman, founder and former chairman and CEO of Wilmington clinical research organization PPD, and Ernest Mario, who was on the PPD’s board of directors.

Ballou declined to go into detail about Corinthian’s technology and said that he would be able to explain more about how it works in mid-March. What Ballou is hoping for between now and then is a licensing arrangement or partnership deal with a pharmaceutical company that could use Corinthian’s technology as a drug-delivery device. He also hopes for some clarity about the regulatory pathway for the device. Ballou said that he’s in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about regulatory matters.

Eye droppers have been used to deliver drugs to the eyes for decades. But “they’re tough to use and not very accurate,” Ballou said. They’re also wasteful. The eye has a capacity for seven microliters, he explained. An eye dropper can deliver 25 to 30 microliters or more. And delivery of a drop can be received by the eye as an irritant and trigger tears that wash the drug away.

Corinthian has ophthalmologists on its board of directors and its medical advisory board who have helped with the design of the device. Ballou founded Corinthian in August 2010. He says the company is now in the final stages of developing its device.

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