RARE Daily

Ray Therapeutics Raises $100 Million for Gene Therapies to Treat Eye Disease

May 16, 2023

Rare Daily Staff

Ray Therapeutics said it completed a $100 million series A venture round that will allow it to advance multiple programs targeting blinding diseases of the eye through clinical development.

Novo Holdings A/S led the round, which included the participation of Deerfield Management, Norwest Venture Partners, Platanus, MRL Ventures Fund, the therapeutics-focused corporate venture fund of Merck & Co., and existing investor 4BIO Capital.

Ray Therapeutics is developing novel optogenetics gene therapies for patients with blinding diseases. The company is developing its lead candidate RTx-015 in retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease with significant unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to use optogenetics to restore vision, independent of genetic mutation for patients with inherited retinal diseases.

Visual optogenetics is a therapeutic modality that uses gene therapy to deliver a light-sensitive protein to cells in the retina. Light entering the eye can then stimulate these cells to produce a visual signal that is sent to the brain. Ray Therapeutics has developed an optogenetic platform to bioengineer a next-generation pipeline of genotype-independent therapeutics for vision restoration in multiple retinal diseases where the normal light-sensing cells are lost.

“This series A financing marks a significant milestone in our mission to address the urgent unmet medical need of patients with blinding diseases,” said Paul Bresge, CEO and co-founder of Ray Therapeutics.

“Ray Therapeutics is developing the world’s first bioengineered optogenetic therapies optimized for human vision, with the potential to restore both higher visual function and quality of life to blind patients, without the need for light enhancing devices,” said Ray Camahort, partner in the venture investments group at Novo Holdings. “The company’s next-generation technology platform, strong preclinical data, and world-class genetic medicines team, position them as leaders in developing potential best-in-class vision restorative therapeutics, which aligns with Novo Holdings purpose to improve people’s health.”

In connection with the financing, Ray Camahort, partner in the venture investments group at Novo Holdings, Tiba Aynechi, general partner at Norwest Venture Partners, and Hannah Chang, managing director of Platanus, will join Sean Ainsworth, Dima Kuzmin, and Paul Bresge on the board of directors at Ray Therapeutics. Brian Chow, principal at Deerfield and Jason Ruth, partner, MRL Ventures Fund, will join as board observers.

Photo: Paul Bresge, CEO and co-founder of Ray Therapeutics

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