RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Startup Camras Vision, which is developing a device to address glaucoma, has closed on $5.7 million in venture capital funding.

Camras plans to use the funding to support four clinical trials, including a pilot study in the U.S.

Camras Vision

Camras Vision

A variety of investors participated, including the Triangle Venture Alliance, which is a partnership among Duke University, the University of North Carolina and NC State University angel groups.

“Researchers and scientists from universities across the Triangle region often join forces to collaborate on innovations,” said John Glushik, managing director of the Duke Angel Network, in a statement. “Through the Triangle Venture Alliance, angel and investor networks from all these universities can also team up to provide critical support and funding for disruptive technologies such as the Camras Shunt.”

VCapital and InFocus Capital Partners led the round along with Triangle Venture Alliance, which had invested earlier. Other backers include  IMAF Coastal Plain, and Pilot Mountain Ventures plus some additional new angel investors.

“We are pleased to have VCapital, InFocus Capital Partners, and TVA participating in our Series A financing, in addition to the ongoing commitment of our current investors,” said Ray Krauss, CEO of Camras Vision.  “Our first in human trial overseas has been underway for the past 18 months and has shown encouraging preliminary results. Product refinements will continue as we move forward with additional clinical trial sites.”

Camras has developed a patented shunt that, when implanted in the eye, relieves intraocular pressure by draining fluid. Elevated pressure in the eye can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain, causing permanent vision loss if not treated.

The company has received three loans totaling $824,000 from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to develop and test the device.

Camras Vision created the Camras device to avoid complications following glaucoma surgery and will provide ophthalmologists with the first tool that can stop the progression of glaucoma. The device can successfully drain aqueous humor externally, avoiding the scarring that is associated with all other incisional/shunt surgeries.

More than 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Camras won the Emerging Company Award at SEBIO’s 19th Annual Investor and Partnering Forum last November.