ExSight Ventures ("ExSight") is pleased to announce our investment Re-Vana Therapeutics, Ltd, ("Re-Vana") to support pre-clinical development of sustained-release biologic and small molecule therapeutics. ExSight is proud to have led the $3.25 million pre-Series A financing with participation from InFocus Capital Partners (“InFocus”) and Visionary Ventures (“Visionary”). Leading this round represents a significant milestone in ExSight's maturation as a firm. Not coincidentally, a technology capable of sustained release biologic therapeutics has been a priority for ExSight from day one.
Re-Vana is a specialty ocular therapeutic and drug delivery company developing sustained-release therapeutics for significant sight-threatening ocular diseases. The technology was spun out from Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. Re-Vana's sustained release ophthalmic therapeutics promise to reduce the frequency of intravitreal injections required to treat a wide range of retinal diseases, including neovascular age-related macular degeneration. The Re-Vana platform has the potential to deliver at least 4 to 6 months sustained delivery of a large molecule biologic, including anti-VEGF therapies. Re-Vana's technology could spur a new generation of glaucoma medications that may reduce or eliminate the need for eye drops by delivering small molecules for 6 to 9 months or longer. Re-Vana has also secured the rights to a novel nanoparticle polymer-based drug delivery technology for ophthalmic applications.
ExSight's Re-Vana investment is the culmination of over two years of our team's efforts. Working closely with Re-Vana's founders and leadership team we were able to lead this round and build a syndicate of other respected existing and new investors. ExSight led the first tranche closing of $2.08 million with participation from InFocus Capital Partners and existing U.K. investors, including TechStart Ventures, Clarendon Fund Managers, and Qubis Ltd. ExSight added to our investment with an AngelList Syndicate. Visionary Ventures led the second closing of $1.17 million.
With the second closing, Re-Vana became the first company in which all three specialized U.S. ophthalmic funds have invested in the same company. Re-Vana's President and Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Rourke said, "We are especially fortunate to have participation from three highly respected U.S. ophthalmic-focused investors." ExSight echoes Mr. O’Rourke’s sentiments and we are grateful to have substantial participation from InFocus and Visionary. The proceeds will advance proof-of-concept development for Re-Vana's proprietary photocrosslinked EyeLief™ and OcuLief™ biodegradable technologies for the delivery of biologic and small molecule therapeutics, as well as enable expansion of the company's research and development team.
Dr. Rahhal first met Re-Vana's CEO, Michael O'Rourke at OIS@ASRS in August 2017 and was immediately impressed with the promise of Re-Vana's technology and Mr. O'Rourke's in-depth ophthalmic industry knowledge and experience. The ExSight team had grown skeptical of drug delivery technologies due to limitations in several underlying technologies. An initial conversation with Dr. Raj Thakur, CSO and Co-Founder, established our confidence in Re-Vana's approach. Reflecting on the experience, Dr. Rahhal said, "Joining up with Re-Vana is very gratifying because we are so confident in the clinical relevance and, ultimately, direct and profound impact on patient care, something we have felt since first meeting Michael O'Rourke and Dr. Thakur and learning about the technology over two years ago."
As part of this financing ExSight's James Murray will join Re-Vana's Board of Directors along with representatives from InFocus and Visionary. Dr. Rahhal commented, "James, as a result of our deep understanding and confidence in Re-Vana, has done an amazing job putting together the syndicate needed for the current round. It is a terrific blend of experience and talent. I look forward to working with this great team in the coming months and years to bring Re-Vana's products to patients." Dr. Rahhal and Dr. Nissen will join the Re-Vana Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Nissen added, “Supporting important drug delivery technology has been a major goal at ExSight since the firm’s inception. Re-Vana is a clear standout of all the companies we have studied. Michael O’Rourke and the Re-Vana team have the experience and the vision bring their products to market and have a significant positive impact on patient’s lives. We are proud to partner with Re-Vana in developing EyeLief™ and OcuLief™.”
We are grateful to join Mr. O'Rourke, Dr. Thakur, the Re-Vana team, and a remarkable group of investors in bringing this much needed therapeutic technology to the clinic and improving patient care.
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