Oculus Innovative Sciences, a Petaluma biotech company, plans this year to spin off a subsidiary that would seek federal approval for a new drug to prevent infections in surgery patients.
The spinoff would allow Oculus to continue selling products without the burden of drug development costs, which should help the company more quickly reach its goal of profitability.
"We see this being an opportunity to accelerate that process," Oculus spokesman Dan McFadden said Monday.
The company, with 37 employees in Petaluma, makes a number of products based on Microcyn, a solution for dermatology, oral care, wound care, animal health care and other markets.
The new company, Ruthigen Inc., would seek approval for a new drug candidate, RUT58-60. Its formulation is similar to Microcyn, McFadden said, though the new solution differs in having magnesium and not containing sodium hypochlorite.