French start-up SparingVision, a 2019 EIT Health Catapult winner, have raised EUR 44.5 million to accelerate the development of their breakthrough treatment tackling chronic ocular diseases.
The funding round was led by 4BIO Capital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Enterprise, and included Jeito Capital and Ysios Capital. Existing investors, Bpifrance and Foundation Fighting Blindness, also continued their support.
About the treatment
The funds will allow the company to advance the development of SPVN06, its innovative gene therapy for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, and support activities required to start its first human clinical trial, scheduled for 2021.
Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common hereditary retinal disease and affects two million patients worldwide. It causes a gradual loss of vision through the degeneration of the cells of the eye responsible for capturing the light.
SPVN06 is composed of a neurotrophic factor and an enzyme that reduces oxidative stress. By acting together, these compounds have the potential to slow or stop the degeneration of light-absorbing cells in the retina, a leading cause of blindness in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
Because the disease is caused by mutations in more than 50 different genes, the development of conventional gene therapies has proved extremely difficult and there is currently no approved treatment.
The key to SparingVision’s therapeutic solution is that it is designed to prevent degeneration of retinal cells regardless of genetic origin, which has the potential to treat everyone affected by this disease.
SparringVision was the winner of the 2019 EIT Health Catapult competition in the Biotech category, where they pitched SPVN06 to a panel seven industry experts, including Raul Martin-Ruiz, Partner at Ysios Capital.
With an overwhelming number of people living with chronic diseases in Europe, it is exciting to think about the potential that this truly innovative treatment can have on a range of debilitating chronic diseases beyond retinitis pigmentosa.
Dr Kurt Höller - Director of Business Creation at EIT Health