SparingVision Raises $52 Million to Advance Gene Therapies for Rare Retinal Disorders
October 21, 2020
Rare Daily Staff
French biotech SparingVision closed a $52 million (€44.5 million) financing round to advance clinical development of its lead mutation agnostic gene therapy candidate for retinitis pigmentosa.
4BIO Capital and UPMC Enterprises led the financing with participation from new investors Jeito Capital and Ysios Capital, and existing investors Bpifrance and Foundation Fighting Blindness.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare genetic disorders that affects how the retina responds to light. The retina is a layer in the back of the eye where light-sensing cells convert light rays into nerve impulses. These impulses are transferred to the optic nerve and then to the brain where they are perceived as images. These cells in the retina are called rods and cones and in RP, these cells die.
While Spark Therapeutics’ gene therapy Luxturna broke important ground as the first targeted treatment to address the cause of RP, it targets a specific gene mutation that causes RP in only 2 percent to 3 percent of people with RP. SparingVision’s SPVN06 is a proprietary, mutation-agnostic, AAV gene therapy consisting of one neurotrophic factor and one oxidative stress reducing enzyme which, acting synergistically, aim to slow or stop the degeneration of photoreceptors. Loss of photoreceptors leads to blindness in RP. There is currently no treatment approved for RP patients independently of their genetic background.
“With its singular mutation-agnostic approach, SPVN06 could have a much broader commercial potential than most gene therapy products for RP currently in development and will be used as an anchor to build an economically-viable portfolio of therapies in the field of ophthalmology,” said Stéphane Boissel, president and CEO, and chairman of the board.
Proceeds from the financing will be primarily used to advance the development of SPVN06 and support the biotech’s GMP activities (including the manufacturing of a first clinical batch of the product, currently ongoing), the IND/CTA regulatory activities and the conduct of a first-in-man study, scheduled to start in 2021. SparingVision also intends to further expand its management team and commence operations in the United States.
Along with the financing, SparingVision announced that Chairman of the Board Stéphane Boissel was appointed president and chief executive officer. Boissel was previously executive vice president of corporate strategy at Sangamo Therapeutics.
Photo: Stéphane Boissel, president and CEO, and chairman of the board.
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