Qubis, the Commercialisation Arm of Queen’s, Co–invested alongside NI–based Investors, and Three Major US–based Ophthalmic Venture Capital Firms
Belfast, Northern Ireland – June 2, 2020 – Re-Vana Therapeutics Ltd, a privately–held specialty ocular therapeutic and drug delivery company developing sustained–release therapeutics for significant sight–threatening ocular diseases, today announced that it has closed $3.25 million in pre–series A financing. The pre–series A round was oversubscribed by more than $1 million and closed in two tranches. The first tranche of $2.08 million was led by ExSight Ventures, with participation from InFocus Capital Partners and existing U.K. investors, including TechStart Ventures, Clarendon Fund Managers, Qubis Ltd and The Syndicate Room. Visionary Ventures led the second closing round of $1.17 million, with additional investment from existing investors.
With the second closing, Re–Vana became the first company in which all three specialized U.S. ophthalmic funds have invested in the same company. The proceeds will advance proof–of–concept development for Re–Vana’s proprietary photocrosslinked EyeLief™ and OcuLief™ biodegradable technologies for the delivery of biologic and small molecule therapeutics, as well as enable expansion of the company’s research and development team. To date, Re–Vana has achieved at least 4 months sustained release of an anti–VEGF drug with greater than 50% drug loading in its implants.
In conjunction with this financing, Re–Vana’s board of directors and scientific advisory teams have been further enhanced. The board of directors has been strengthened by the appointment of Garrett Hamontree of Visionary Ventures and James Murray of ExSight Ventures, as well as board observers Robert Avery, MD, of Visionary Ventures and Ron Weiss, MD, of InFocus Capital Partners. Dr. Avery of Visionary Ventures will join Firas Rahhal, MD, and Michael Nissen, MD, both of ExSight Ventures, on Re–Vana’s scientific advisory board.
“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,” said Michael O’Rourke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Re–Vana Therapeutics. “We are especially fortunate to have three highly respected, U.S. ophthalmic–focused investors join our 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.”
Re–Vana is a technology spin–out from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Brian McCaul CEO of Qubis Ltd, said: “On behalf of the UK investors, we are excited to continue our investment into Re–Vana. The company has demonstrated significant progress since our first investment in 2017 and we look forward to supporting the team going forward.”
The company is developing sustained release ophthalmic therapeutics that can reduce the frequency of intravitreal injections required to treat a wide range of retinal diseases, including neovascular age–related macular degeneration. The Re–Vana platform has the potential to deliver at least 4 to 6 months sustained delivery of a large molecule biologic, including anti–VEGF therapies. Re–Vana’s technology could spur a new generation of glaucoma medications that may reduce or eliminate the need for eye drops by delivering small molecules for 6 to 9 months or longer. In addition, Re–Vana’s technology may enable the development of a new class of therapeutic products built on the company’s proprietary photocrosslinked sustained–release technology. Re–Vana has also secured the rights to a novel nanoparticle polymer–based drug delivery technology for ophthalmic applications.
Re–Vana has received support from Invest Northern Ireland since its beginnings via the Proof of Concept (PoC) programme and also the Access to Finance fund. Find out more about these programmes on Invest Northern Ireland’s Support for Business website.