(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — George C.Y. Chiou, Ph.D., of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, recently was awarded $1.7 million to support MacuClear, a company he founded last year.

MacuClear, born from Dr. Chiou’s extensive research into therapeutic drugs for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the first start-up company to receive support from the Texas A&M University System and the HSC-COM.

As founding editor of the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and director of the Institute of Ocular Pharmacology, Dr. Chiou, professor of neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, worked with the Texas A&M System Office of Technology Commercialization to create MacuClear in August 2006. After six months of fund-raising, he was able to secure $1.7 million from Regent Technology.

The funds will finance formulation of his AMD eye drops, which will be tested and submitted as an Individual New Drug Application to the Food and Drug Administration. Once the drugs pass FDA regulations, MacuClear can proceed with clinical trials.

AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 65. Dr. Chiou’s eye drops will increase choroidal blood flow in the eye, effectively preventing and reversing damage associated with AMD progression.

Dr. Chiou is a member of the five-person MacuClear Board of Directors. It conducted its first official meeting April 30.

“Our next step is to find a partner who can help us bring our product to the market,” Dr. Chiou said. “This is a very expensive process, so we’ll be working with the pharmaceutical industry to make it happen.”

— Marketing & Communications