Aurion Biotech raises $120 million to fund its cell therapy efforts

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Aurion noted that its first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction.

Aurion Biotech this week announced it has secured $120 million financing with top-tier biotech and ophthalmology investors as it continues its focus on developing its therapy to preserve vision in patients.

The company noted that its first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction, developed by world-renowned ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan.

Related: Endothelial cell therapy: up to 100 treatments from one human cornea

According to the company, it acquired this technology in 2020, and is currently preparing to submit a J-NDA for market approval in Japan, and an IND to initiate clinical trials in the U.S.

Aurion Biotech said in the news release it intends to use the proceeds of this financing to advance its cell therapy program for corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction, which affects approximately 16 million people in the US, Europe and Japan.

“Our financing speaks volumes about the potential of our cell therapy to transform the lives of millions of people suffering from corneal endothelial dystrophies,” said Greg Kunst, CEO of Aurion Biotech. “We are inspired and gratified by the strategic support, insights and depth of resources our investors bring to Aurion Biotech – all of which will help to accelerate our momentum.”

Related: Aurion BioTech presents cell therapy findings with published clinical data

According to the company, the financing was led by Deerfield Management, and included existing investors Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management, Flying L Partners, Falcon Vision, an ophthalmology-focused investment platform supported by KKR, and Visionary Ventures, a leading ophthalmology-focused venture fund creating value with better insight. Alcon also participated in the financing. Funds will be disbursed to the company based on the achievement of key clinical and operational milestones.

Andrew ElBardissi, MD, a partner at Deerfield Management, and Patrick Lally, partner at Petrichor, will join Aurion Biotech’s board of directors.

“We invest in experienced entrepreneurs, brilliant scientists and clinicians, and disruptive technologies that address significant unmet patient needs,” ElBardissi said in a statement. “We believe that Aurion Biotech possesses each of those key success factors and we look forward to supporting the Company’s next phase of growth and innovation.”

Raymond James served as the financial advisor to Aurion Biotech, in connection with this offering.