Eyevensys, a Paris, France-based clinical-stage biotechnology company developing non-viral gene therapies for retinal and other ophthalmic diseases, completed a $30m Series B financing.
The round was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund with 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. In conjunction with the financing, 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.
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, and 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).
Led by Dr. Patricia Zilliox, Chief Executive Officer, Eyevensys is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing technology to enable the sustained intraocular production of therapeutic proteins to treat a broad range of ophthalmic diseases. The 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 the company’s 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. It 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, the company 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.
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.
The company 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.