Beyond retinal detachment, lead candidate ONL1204 will also advance into the chronic conditions of glaucoma and dry age-related macular degeneration over the next 24 months
ANN ARBOR, MI – December 22, 2020
ONL Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for protecting the vision of patients with retinal disease, today announced it closed on $46.9 million in a Series B Preferred Stock financing round. The financing included new investors Bios Partners, which led the round, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Kaitai Capital, PSQ Capital, and Michigan Capital Network Venture Fund III. Existing investors that participated in the round include ONL Therapeutics management, InFocus Capital Partners, ExSight Ventures, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS) program, Western Michigan University’s Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center, and the Capital Community Angels.
Stella M. Robertson, Ph.D., co-founder of Bios Partners and a former vice president in research & development at Alcon Laboratories, and Bill Burns, former CEO of Encore Vision, will join the board of directors of ONL Therapeutics.
“We are excited about the potential of ONL’s Fas inhibition platform to address major unmet medical needs in retinal disease,” said Dr. Robertson. “With its deep scientific foundation, compelling Phase 1 data in retinal detachment, and experienced leadership team, ONL Therapeutics is advancing towards providing neuroprotection for these patients and bringing new therapies to market.”
This funding supports the completion of a Phase 1 study in retinal detachment with ONL’s lead compound ONL1204. In addition, the funding will advance ONL1204 in two chronic indications, glaucoma and dry age-related macular degeneration. ONL1204 will be used in a Phase 1b study for open angle glaucoma, a Phase 1b study in dry age-related macular degeneration and a repeat dose toxicology study to support an accelerated plan for chronic dosing in several retinal diseases.
“ONL Therapeutics is developing first-in-class therapeutics to protect the vision of patients with retinal disease,” commented David Esposito, chief executive officer of ONL Therapeutics. “We are grateful to our new and existing investors, who recognize the opportunity we have to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients. Bios Partners has been instrumental in working with our team to build the syndicate and strengthen our plans. We look forward to advancing our efforts in the clinic and helping patients in the years to come.”
ONL Therapeutics closed its Series A financing in 2017 to accelerate pre-clinical development of its lead compound ONL1204, a peptide delivered via intravitreal injection, in addition to advancing its gene therapy program. The University of Michigan’s Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS) program led the financing and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research participated in the Series A financing.
“Today marks a major milestone in the history of ONL Therapeutics as we secure the financing with industry leading partners to advance our pipeline,” commented David Zacks, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and chief scientific officer of ONL Therapeutics. “We see great potential in the role of Fas inhibition to provide neuroprotection in patients with retinal cell disease, and we look forward to accelerating our efforts in the clinic.”
ONL1204 is a novel, small molecule Fas inhibitor designed to protect key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, from cell death that occurs in a range of retinal diseases and conditions. Death of these retinal cells, through both direct and inflammatory signaling pathways, is the root cause of vision loss and the leading cause of blindness. The company’s ONL1204 development program focused its first indication on the treatment of retinal detachment, a condition for which the compound has been granted orphan drug designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clinical trial plans were focused first on the acute indication of retinal detachment, with continuing preclinical work occurring to enable clinical trials in other disease indications, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and inherited retinal degeneration (IRD; also known as retinitis pigmentosa).
About ONL Therapeutics
ONL Therapeutics (ONL) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to protecting and improving the vision of patients with retinal disease. By advancing a novel breakthrough technology designed to protect key retinal cells from Fas-mediated cell death, ONL is pioneering an entirely new approach to preserving vision. ONL is developing a platform of products for use in a wide range of blinding diseases, including retinal detachment, glaucoma, AMD, and IRD.
For more information about ONL Therapeutics, please visit www.onltherapeutics.com.
About Bios Partners
Bios Partners is a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. Founded in 2014 and based in Fort Worth, TX, the firm utilizes an experienced team of industry professionals to actively collaborate with its investment portfolio companies and enhance stakeholder value.
For more information, please visit www.biospartners.com.