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Aurion Biotech raises $120m to advance cell therapy programme

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 Aurion Biotech  has raised $120m from biotech and ophthalmology investors to progress its cell therapy programme for corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction.

Led by Deerfield Management, the funding round saw participation from existing investors Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management, Flying L Partners, Falcon Vision, an ophthalmology-focused investment platform backed by KKR, and Visionary Ventures, a ophthalmology-focused venture.

Alcon also took part in the financing.

The funds will be disbursed to the firm as per the achievement of important clinical and operational milestones.

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

Dr. ElBardissi said: “We invest in experienced entrepreneurs, brilliant scientists and clinicians, and disruptive technologies that address significant unmet patient needs.

“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.”

The company’s first candidate is a cell therapy to treat corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction. It has been developed by ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan.

The firm secured this technology in 2020.

Currently, Aurion Biotech is preparing to file a J-NDA for market approval in Japan, and an IND to commence clinical trials in the US.

Aurion Biotech plans to use the proceeds from this funding to progress its cell therapy programme for corneal edema secondary to endothelial dysfunction, which impacts around 16 million people in the US, Europe and Japan.

Aurion Biotech CEO Greg Kunst said: “Our financing speaks volumes about the potential of our cell therapy to transform the lives of millions of people suffering from corneal endothelial dystrophies.

“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.”

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