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ForSight Labs, Newly Formed Ophthalmic Device Incubator, Receives $2.4-million in Venture Funding

ForSight Labs, which aims to create new companies around promising ophthalmic medical device technologies, announced last week its formation with seed funding of $2.4 million. The funding comes from three venture capital firms: Morgenthaler Ventures, Split Rock Partners and Versant Ventures.

The new incubator will be based on a collaboration between Eugene de Juan, M.D., and The Foundry. Dr. de Juan is Jean Kelly Stock Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California at San Francisco's School of Medicine and has frequently been listed as one of the top 10 practicing ophthalmologists in the U.S. He has also cofounded five ophthalmic device companies and holds over 40 drug and device patents. The Foundry, founded in 1998 and based in Menlo Park, has founded nine new medical device companies, mostly focused on cardiovascular therapies. Together, these device companies have attained a current combined valuation of over $500 million.

ForSight Labs will combine Dr. de Juan's ability as an ophthalmic therapy innovator with The Foundry's proven process for device company creation. That process begins with evaluation of device ideas from around the world, selection every year of one idea with exceptional medical and commercial potential, device prototyping and testing that leads to proof of concept, and, finally, creation of a full-fledged company capable of attracting venture capital investment. The Foundry raises significant funding for the company and continues to assist it as it exits The Foundry's offices and begins an independent existence.

"I looked at a number of successful device incubator models, but The Foundry's model stood out," says Dr. de Juan, who cites The Foundry's unusually close alignment of interests between device developers and investors. "As an inventor, the Foundry model allows me to do my job unfettered."

The three venture capital investors will each take a seat on the ForSight Labs board of directors.