Re-Vana reels in $12M to develop sustained-release eye implants

Investors have boosted Re-Vana Therapeutics’ ambition to develop sustained-release eye disease drugs, putting up $11.9 million in series A funding on the back of nonclinical ocular safety and efficacy studies. 

Re-Vana spun out of Queen's University in Northern Ireland in 2016 to build on Raj Thakur’s work on photocrosslinked technologies. UV light encapsulates drugs through the photocrosslinking of polymers. The approach could enable the creation of implants that release drugs over long periods of time, such as biodegradable devices that provide sustained release of molecules in the back of the eye.

While multiple groups have worked on photocrosslinking, Re-Vana has sought to differentiate itself with an approach that enables room-temperature production with little change in internal pH and enhanced protein stability for extended delivery.

Investors see promise in the technology. More than two years after closing a pre-series A round, Re-Vana has reeled in $11.9 million in a round led by Visionary Ventures. ExSight Ventures and InFocus Capital Partners also chipped in cash, as did existing U.K. investors Qubis, Co-Fund NI and TechStart Ventures.

“Financing from new and existing investors during this challenging time is a testament to the potential of Re-Vana's technologies for sustained delivery of biologic therapeutics,” Re-Vana CEO Michael O'Rourke said in a statement. “We are especially fortunate to have received follow-on financing from multiple, highly respected, U.S. ophthalmic-focused venture capital firms and U.K. investors.” 

The financing follows the conclusion of nonclinical studies that showed Re-Vana’s implants can achieve six months or more sustained delivery of an anti-VEGF biologic with high drug loading, controlled burst release and a favorable degradation profile. Re-Vana will use the money to build on the work, adding to its operations and development teams to support the next steps.