4BIO Capital Leads $6 Million Seed Financing in Ray Therapeutics
LONDON & BOSTON – 4BIO Capital (“4BIO” or “the Group”), an international venture capital firm focused solely on the advanced therapies sector, today announces that it has led a $6 million seed financing round in Ray Therapeutics (or “the Company”), a biotech company developing optogenetic gene therapies for patients with blinding diseases.
The funding will be used to advance its optogenetic therapy, Ray-001, into clinical trials in retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Based on the durability of treatment demonstrated in preclinical studies, Ray-001 is intended to be a one-time treatment via intravitreal injection that is sustainable for a lifetime. Unlike current RP gene therapies in development, which are targeted to specific genetic mutations or individuals with remaining photoreceptors that only address a small patient population, Ray-001 is mutation-agnostic.
Optogenetics is a promising approach that has the potential to restore useful vision to visually-impaired and blind individuals. In RP, a patient’s photoreceptors, the primary cells required for vision, are lost and cannot regenerate. However, inner retinal neurons downstream to photoreceptors, especially retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), persist in significant numbers even in late-stage disease. Ray Therapeutics’ lead candidate Ray-001 uses an intravitreal approach where it diffuses from the vitreous into the retina and transduces primarily the RGCs.
Dr Dmitry Kuzmin, Managing Partner at 4BIO Capital, commented: “We’re excited to invest in Ray Therapeutics, which is developing a ground-breaking new approach to treat inherited retinal diseases using the power of optogenetics. Ray’s experienced management team have a successful track record in developing regenerative medicines in ophthalmology indications including optogenetic therapies. As a mutation-agnostic approach, Ray-001 has a significant advantage in that it can potentially treat more patients as a one-time intravitreal injection that will last for a lifetime.”
Paul Bresge, CEO & Co-Founder at Ray Therapeutics, said: “This seed financing round led by top-tier advanced therapies investor 4BIO Capital, enables us to advance our optogenetic gene therapy platform, pipeline and people. I’m thrilled to be leading a team to develop our optogenetic gene therapy, Ray-001, which could potentially restore vision for patients with blinding diseases, beginning with retinitis pigmentosa, an area of significant unmet medical need.”