Bedford-based Nanoscope Therapeutics was over-subscribed for its recent Series A funding round. The TechFW client also announced it was adding Dr. Alvaro Guillem, co-founder of ZS Pharma, as its Chairman of the Board.
The undisclosed amount of Series A funding is expected to be used to begin a clinical trial on inherited retinal disorders and other eye-related initiatives as part of Nanoscope’s mission to “give sight back to the blind.”
Guillem has almost 40 years of experience in bringing therapies to market and getting pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities ready for commercial production. His experience includes bringing Mucinex to market as part of a team at Adams Respiratory Therapeutics. The company was later sold to Reckitt Benckiser for $2.3 billion.
He also co-founded and worked as president and CEO at ZS Pharma, a fellow TechFW client that became one of the org’s greatest success stories when it was sold to Astra Zeneca in 2015 for $2.7 billion.
Guillem said in a statement he’s looking forward to guiding Nanoscope’s transition to the next stage as a leader in ocular gene therapy.
He noted that Nanoscope’s Multi-Characteristic Opsin (MCO) tech “has the potential to impact rare diseases,” including Retinitis Pigmentosa and dry-age related macular degeneration. Retinitis Pigmentosa is prevalent in approximately 150,000 people in the United States and currently has no FDA-approved therapies.
But, Nanoscope’s vMCO1 has been granted an Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA.
MCO is an optogenetic ocular gene therapy molecule, which could restore or improve a patient’s sight “regardless of underlying gene defects,” according to a statement. Pre-clinical studies have shown that MCO will allow for the restoration of light sensitivity to a retina with photoreceptor degeneration.
“The technology is poised to make long-lasting impact on patients suffering from retinal degeneration,” Samar Mohanty, Nanoscope’s president and co-founder, said in a statement. “Combined with the track record of the highly skilled executive team and advisors, Nanoscope is going to drive the future market on ocular gene therapy.”
Nanoscope was founded in 2009 and has received SBIR awards and National Institutes of Health R01 grants since then, as well as patents for optical stimulation, gene delivery, and imaging for neural activity monitoring.
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