Our Story

In 2008, Jay Lichter, Ph.D., a partner at Avalon Ventures and biotechnology industry veteran, experienced his first severe attack of vertigo. While driving, he became severely disoriented and had to pull to the side of the road. After multiple doctor visits, he was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease and quickly experienced the limitations of available treatments. With his physician, Jeffrey Harris, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of California, San Diego, and several other experts in the field of otology, Dr. Lichter founded Otonomy to bring new treatment options to patients with otic (ear) disorders.

To accomplish this mission, we pioneered the application of drug delivery technology to the ear in order to develop products that achieve sustained drug exposure from a single local administration. This approach is covered by a broad patent estate and is being utilized to develop a pipeline of products addressing important unmet medical needs including Ménière’s disease, hearing loss, and tinnitus.