Oculis, a Lausanne, Switzerland-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation topical ophthalmic treatments, raised a further CHF15.5m in Series B financing.
The extension round, which brought total raised to CHF35.5m, was led by funds managed by Tekla Capital Management and included Nan Fung Life Sciences, both new investors, as well as current investors. In conjunction with this fundraising, Henry Skinner, Ph.D., Senior Vice President at Tekla Capital Management, is joining the Oculis Board of Directors as a Non-Executive Director. Dr. Skinner was formerly Managing Director at Novartis Venture Fund and Executive Director, Head Strategic Alliances at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research. Prior to this, Dr. Skinner was CEO at SelectX Pharmaceuticals, President and CEO at NeoGenesis Pharmaceuticals and also spent four years at Pfizer in its Technology Acquisitions and Operations group. At the same time, Stefan J. Sveinsson has stepped down from the Board of Directors.
The company intends to use the funds to expand its portfolio through strategic in-licensing, and to advance the development of its emerging pipeline of novel topical (eye drop) treatments for major ophthalmic diseases.
Led by Dr. Riad Sherif, Chief Executive Officer, Oculis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to develop novel topical treatments (eye drops) for ophthalmic diseases for both back- and front-of-the-eye in order to improve the sight and lives of patients worldwide. The company’s clinical candidates include OCS-01 (formerly OC-118) and OCS-02 (formerly LME636). OCS-01 is advancing in clinical trial in patients with DME and is in preparation to enter clinical development for post-surgery ocular inflammation. If approved in DME, OCS-01 has the potential to provide a new non-invasive treatment option for DME patients. OCS-02 is a novel topical anti-TNF alpha antibody in Phase II trials in inflammatory eye diseases and was in-licensed from Novartis.
OCS-01 has been developed from Oculis’ solubilizing nanoparticle (SNP) technology, a proprietary platform that enables the formulation of a wide range of drugs as non-invasive topical treatments and enhances their bioavailability in the relevant eye tissues. The company is leveraging this proprietary technology to generate a pipeline of topical drugs targeting sight-threatening eye diseases.
Oculis has research operations in Reykjavik, Iceland.