Today (3 June), Queen’s University Belfast spin-out Re-Vana Therapeutics announced that it has raised $3.25m in pre-Series A funding.
The start-up, which develops sustained-release therapeutics for significant sight-threatening ocular diseases, said that the round was oversubscribed by more than $1m and closed in two tranches.
The first tranche was led by ExSight Ventures, with participation from InFocus Capital Partners and existing UK investors including Techstart Ventures, Clarendon Fund Managers, Qubis and SyndicateRoom. The second tranche was led by Visionary Ventures, with additional backing from existing investors.
The Belfast company is developing sustained-release ophthalmic therapeutics that can reduce the frequency of intravitreal injections required to treat a range of retinal diseases, such as neovascular age-related macular degeneration.
Re-Vana Therapeutics said that its platform has the potential to provide at least four to six months sustained delivery of a large molecule biologic, including anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies.
It added that its technology could “spur a new generation” of glaucoma medications that could reduce or eliminate the need for eye drops, by delivering small molecules for six to nine months or longer.
The company has secured the rights to a novel nanoparticle polymer-based drug delivery technology for ophthalmic applications.
Michael O’Rourke, president and CEO of Re-Vana Therapeutics, said: “Financing from new and existing investors during this challenging time is a testament to the potential of Re-Vana’s technologies for sustained delivery of both biologic and small molecule therapeutics.”
With the latest round of funding, Re-Vana said that it has become the first company to receive investment from all three specialised US ophthalmic funds.
The proceeds will help the spin-out to advance the proof-of-concept development of its proprietary EyeLief and OcuLief biodegradable technologies, which enable the delivery of biologic and small molecule therapeutics. The company also plans to expand its research and development team with the funding.
It has added Garrett Hamontree from Visionary Ventures and James Murray of ExSight Ventures to its board of directors, along with Dr Robert Avery of Visionary Ventures and Dr Ron Weiss of InFocus Capital Partners as board observers. Avery will join Dr Firas Rahhal and Dr Michael Nissen, both of ExSight Ventures, on the start-up’s scientific advisory board.
O’Rourke said that the company is fortunate to have three “highly-respected” US ophthalmic-focused investors joining its board.
“Their proven knowledge and expertise in ophthalmology will be an invaluable addition to Re-Vana as we initiate preclinical development and expand our strategic partnerships.”