TearScience’s medical device has regulatory clearance in both the United States and Europe, and it’s already in use by some physicians. But CEO Tim Willis says that even with a commercialized technology that is producing revenues, raising money is still harder than ever.

The Morrisville company this week secured up to $70 million in financing, which the company plans to use for global commercialization of its novel treatment for evaporative dry eye. Willis spoke on an entrepreneur panel before the launch of CED’s 2013 Life Science Conference on Wednesday.

Afterward, he took a few moments to give WRAL Tech Wire some additional insights about his company’s latest financing.

TearScience has spent the last nine months trying to raise money. Willis said it’s harder to raise money now than it was 10 years ago because of the amount of scrutiny given by investors.

“There’s such a risk averseness out there,” he said. “Ten years ago, folks would jump all over this (technology).”

TearScience has developed a device that uses a combination of heat and pressure to treat evaporative dry eye, a condition caused when the glands that produce oily film that keep the tear film from evaporating, become clogged. 

Willis said he decided to go with debt financing from HealthCare Royalty Partners because another equity round would dilute existing investors. Willis made some comments at last year’s life science conference about market conditions for raising money from an overseas initial public offering. 

Willis said Wednesday that TearScience has no specific IPO plan.

“All options are on the table for us, all options,” he said.

But he added that in the last year, market conditions have worsened for early stage medical device companies considering an IPO. A company must be of a certain size and scale in order to even consider an IPO.

With the company’s latest financing, TearScience now plans a global push to commercialize a technology that the company says addresses a $10 billion market opportunity in North America alone.