Eyevensys, a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company developing non-viral gene therapies for retinal and other ophthalmic diseases, announced today that it has completed a $30 million Series B financing. The round was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and included participation from existing investors Pontifax, Bpifrance, CapDecisif, and Inserm Transfert, as well as new investors, the Global Health Sciences (GHS) Fund (Quark Venture LP and GF Securities) and Pureos Bioventures.
The company will use the funds to continue the development of its clinical lead candidate EYS606 for the treatment of chronic non-infectious uveitis (NIU), including the launch of its Electro Study. This Phase 2 trial, to be conducted in the U.S., will evaluate the safety and efficacy of EYS606 in patients with active forms of all anatomic uveitis subtypes. The funding will also advance the preclinical development of its other therapeutic proteins targeting ophthalmic diseases with unaddressed medical needs such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). EYS606 is currently in a phase I/II clinical trial in the EU and has been granted an Orphan drug designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of NIU.
In conjunction with the financing, Eyevensys has added to its Board of Directors. Neena Kadaba, PhD, Director of Science at Quark Venture LP, joined the board, as well as Dominik Escher, PhD, Managing Partner at Pureos Bioventures, and former founder and CEO of ESBATech, an ophthalmology biotech company acquired by Alcon in 2009, which developed the recently approved Beovu, a new treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration.
Eyevensys has also recently opened a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary in Fort Worth, Texas. All U.S. operations will be managed from this location, though the Eyevensys headquarters will remain in Paris.
The Eyevensys technology is a non-viral gene therapy ocular drug delivery platform that uses an Electrotransfection System to deliver DNA plasmids encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle. This turns the eye into a biofactory, allowing the ciliary muscle to express and secrete the therapeutic protein to the back of the eye at therapeutic levels for a duration of greater than 6 months.
Dr. Patricia Zilliox, Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are thrilled to have completed this Series B funding round with the strong support from both existing and new investors for the company. This funding will assist the further development of our technology and position Eyevensys as an innovator in the field of ophthalmology."
She continued: "As we launch the Electro Study, our first U.S. clinical trial, Eyevensys will also have an opportunity to connect with ophthalmology opinion leaders in the U.S. to gain further exposure for our groundbreaking technology platform. This will also move the company one step closer to providing a more effective and convenient treatment approach to ease the burden of managing patients with chronic ocular conditions."
Eyevensys is a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing its innovative technology to enable the sustained intraocular production of therapeutic proteins to treat a broad range of ophthalmic diseases.
The Eyevensys technology, developed by Dr. Francine Behar-Cohen in Paris, uses electroporation to deliver improved proprietary DNA plasmids encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle of the eye. This approach facilitates the sustained intraocular production of therapeutic proteins.
Eyevensys' lead product EYS606 is a potential new treatment for patients with chronic non-infectious uveitis (NIU). EYS606 combines Eyevensys' proprietary Electrotransfection System with plasmids encoding for the production of a potent fusion protein which neutralizes the activity of TNFα, a cytokine that has been shown to play a pivotal role in mediating intraocular inflammation in NIU. EYS606 is currently in a phase I/II clinical trial in the EU and has been granted an Orphan drug designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of NIU. The therapeutic potential of EYS606 in patients with active, chronic NIU will be further investigated in Part 2 of the ongoing EYS606-CT1 study in the EU and in a second phase 2 trial, the Electro Study (EYS606-CT2) that will be launched in the US in early 2020.
Additionally, Eyevensys is developing EYS611, a treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa and Dry AMD. The treatment encodes for a potent iron chelator with antioxidant and endogenous neuroprotective properties. In animal models, the treatment has been shown to be safe and effective at preserving the retina in the wake of both conditions.
Eyevensys is also advancing a third compound, EYS609, for wet AMD, diabetic macular edema, and central retinal vein occlusion, and it is exploring further compounds for undisclosed indications.
Eyevensys was founded in 2008. It is headquartered in Paris, France, and operates a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary out of Fort Worth, Texas. The company is funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Pureos Bioventures, Bpifrance through the Innobio Fund, CapDecisif, Inserm Transfert Initiative, Pontifax and the Global Health Sciences Fund.
For more information about Eyevensys please visit www.eyevensys.com.
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Marion Janic, RooneyPartners