Biotech startup Eyevensys, which has U.S. operations in Fort Worth with headquarters in Paris, France, has raised $30 million in Series B funding.
Eyevensys is a privately-held clinical-stage company developing non-viral gene therapies for retinal and other ophthalmic diseases.
“We are thrilled to have completed this Series B funding round with the strong support from both existing and new investors for the company,” Fort Worth-based CEO Patricia Zilliox, a onetime Alcon executive, said in a statement. “This funding will assist the further development of our technology and position Eyevensys as an innovator in the field of ophthalmology.”
The round was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and included participation from existing investors Pontifax, Bpifrance, CapDecisif, and Inserm Transfert, along with new investors such as the Global Health Sciences (GHS) Fund and Pureos Bioventures, according to a statement.
Eyevensys plans to 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.
“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,” Zilliox said. “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.”
This Phase 2 trial is to be conducted in the U.S. and will evaluate the safety and efficacy of EYS606 in patients with active forms of all anatomic uveitis subtypes, according to a statement.
Eyevensys product receives ‘orphan drug’ designation in Europe
The funding is also expected to advance the preclinical development of its other therapeutic proteins that target ophthalmic diseases with unaddressed medical needs.
EYS606 is in a phase I/II clinical trial in the European Union and has been granted an “orphan drug” designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of NIU, according to a statement.
In conjunction with the funding, Eyevensys has also added new members to its board.
Neena Kadaba, director of science at Quark Venture LP, joined the board, as did Dominik Escher, managing partner at Pureos Bioventures. Escher is also the former founder and CEO of ESBATech, an ophthalmology biotech company that was acquired by Fort Worth-based Alcon in 2009 and developed the recently approved Beovu, a new treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration.
Eyevensys recently opened its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, with all U.S. operations being managed from there. But, Eyevensys’ headquarters will remain in Paris, according to a statement.
The Eyevensys technology, developed by Dr. Francine Behar-Cohen in Paris, is a non-viral gene therapy ocular drug delivery platform that uses an Electrotransfection System to deliver DNA plasmids (a small DNA molecule within a cell that is physically separated from chromosomal DNA) encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle.
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