Oculus Innovative Sciences, a company that designs, produces, and markets healthcare products including medical devices, is spinning off its biotechnology business, Ruthigen. Oculus will retain all Microcyn drug and device indications while Ruthigen will focus on RUT58-60, a drug candidate intended for the prevention of infection in trauma and surgical procedures. RUT58-60 is a new chemical formulation that, according to the firm, contains twice the concentration of hypochlorous acid, along with magnesium and no sodium hypochlorite.
According to the firm, Oculus' intent is to secure additional FDA and CE regulatory approvals and to expand medical device offerings over the next 12 months. While Oculus will continue promoting Microcyn-based products for topical use, Ruthigen intends to focus on use of its drug for internal use targeting organ exposure. Ruthigen's plan is to identify a partner for its European drug indication as well as file an S-1 registration statement to fund its pivotal drug program in the United States. Upon completion of a public offering, the entities will operate independently.
Upon completion of the spinoff, Hoji Alimi, founder and current CEO of Oculus, will remain on the board of directors at Oculus and serve as chairman and CEO of Ruthigen. Jim Schutz, the current COO and director of Oculus, will assume the role of CEO of Oculus, with a new board chair to be elected shortly.
"By separating these unique businesses into two companies, we believe each company will benefit from greater strategic and managerial focus and be better positioned to capitalize on future market opportunities," Alimi said. "Our Microcyn business will continue as it has over the past seven years providing life-saving products for patients without the additional burden of drug development costs....The spin-off of Ruthigen should be attractive to shareholders who are interested in companies that are addressing the critical issue of surgical infection."
This news comes after an annoucement in December that a new U.S. patent had been issued for the use of Microcyn technology in the treatment of skin ulcers. Oculus initiated the process of creating a wholly owned subsidiary to hold the company's anti-infective drug assets back in November.