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CHF15.5 million for new treatments for eye diseases

07.01.2019 09:03

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Oculis, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation topical ophthalmic treatments, has closed an extension of its Series B financing round. After moving to Switzerland a year ago, the biotech company raised CHF35.5 million in total. The new funds will be used for in-licensing and to advance the development of novel topical treatments for ophthalmic diseases.

The extension round was led by funds managed by Tekla Capital Management LLC and included Nan Fung Life Sciences, both new investors, as well as Oculis’ current investors. In January 2018, Oculis has already announced the first closing of its Series B round. In total, the company raised CHF35.5 million. 

Oculis will use the funds to develop its newly in-licensed asset LME636 from Novartis, a topical anti-TNF alpha antibody. Efficacy and safety of LME636 (to be renamed OCS-02) have been evaluated in three clinical trials including controlled studies under IND by Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. The studies demonstrated a promising profile for treating inflammatory conditions of the anterior segment of the eye, including Dry Eye Disease and offers Oculis the opportunity to address unmet medical needs of patients with potentially the first topical anti-TNF alpha therapy for ophthalmic indications. 

In addition, Oculis will advance the development of its emerging pipeline of novel topical (eye drop) treatments for major ophthalmic diseases. Key among its clinical candidates is OCS-01 (formerly OC-118), currently in clinical trials in patients with Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and in preparation to enter clinical development for post-surgery ocular inflammation. 

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. 

(Press release - SK)

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