Cambridge, UK, Monday 5th October 2015 – Exonate, an early stage biotechnology company, today announced they have successfully closed their latest funding round including investment from the Angel CoFund.
This brings the total amount raised by Exonate to just under £800,000 to date. The investment will be used to fund development of Exonate’s first therapeutic area of interest – an eye drop for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration as a potential alternative to the current treatment by eye injections.
Exonate has an experienced international management team, with a wealth of clinical and start-up experience. The team is led by Dr Catherine Beech, Chief Executive Officer, who spoke of her excitement at closing this funding round:
“I am very pleased to announce that we have successfully closed this round of funding. Exonate’s pre-clinical data is proving to be very powerful and we have a clear aspiration to successfully deliver medicines in areas of unmet need. The funding will enable us to grow our data package in the hope that our molecules, as easily administered eye drops, will change the lives of patients with wet Age-Related macular degeneration, and potentially other areas such as cancer, in the future.”
Tim Mills, Investment Director, Angel CoFund commented:
“We are really pleased to be backing Catherine and the exceptional team she has built up with Exonate. The funding round will play an important role in helping them develop a vastly improved treatment for age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of loss of vision) and improve the quality of life of sufferers. The Angel CoFund looks to support high-growth teams who are creating solutions with the potential to change industries, and Exonate are certainly an exciting company to watch in this space.”
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Louise Shave, Marketing
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Mo Noonan / Lucy McKeone
Exonate is a privately held, early stage, biotech company spun out of the University of Nottingham that is focused on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) in areas of unmet need, such as ophthalmology, pain, nephropathy and cancer. Exonate’s lead programme is focused on Diabetic macular oedema (DME). A consequence of diabetic retinopathy, DME is swelling in an area of the retina called the macula and wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wAMD), which is the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and older. The Company is founded on scientific excellence with strong links to Professor David Bates and his lab at Nottingham University specialising in the biology and biochemical pathways of VEGF splice variants.
Exonate have developed small molecules that inhibit production of pro-angiogenic VEGF through selective inhibition of serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (SRPK1)-mediated VEGF splicing. These inhibitors have already demonstrated superior efficacy as topical agents in preclinical models of wet AMD. Through a Wellcome Trust funded project, Exonate will complete an optimisation programme to nominate a pre-clinical candidate drug with optimal characteristics ahead of regulatory toxicology and safety pharmacology studies which will support an application to the regulatory authorities for clinical evaluation. Exonate expects to reach this milestone and enter the clinic in early 2020.
Exonate is led by an experienced, international management team that has previously worked together with cross-disciplinary experience in medicine and drug development, as well as successful fundraising for early stage companies.
About Diabetic macular oedema (DME)*
DME is the build-up of fluid (oedema) in a region of the retina called the macula. The macula is important for the sharp, straight-ahead vision that is used for reading, recognising faces, and driving. DME is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetic retinopathy. About half of all people with diabetic retinopathy will develop DME and although it is more likely to occur as diabetic retinopathy worsens, DME can happen at any stage of the disease.
About wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (wAMD)
Today, wAMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 years or older and affects more than 30 million patients worldwide, over 200,000 of those in the UK alone. If untreated patients are likely to lose sight in the affected eye within 24 months of disease onset.
The current standard-of-care treatment options for DME and wAMD are
Anti-VEGF antibody drugs – to prevent the growth of new blood vessels in the Unlike small molecule drugs or eye drops, these treatments must be injected into the eye once every 1-2 months. Resistance can develop to these drugs causing the disease to progress anew.
Laser surgery – to destroy abnormal blood vessels in the eye. This type of surgery is only suitable if blood vessel damage is not too extensive and if the abnormal blood vessels aren’t close to the fovea, as performing surgery close to this part of the eye can cause permanent vision.
With DME, Corticosteroids either injected or implanted into the eye, may be used alone or in combination with other drugs or laser surgery to treat DME