Publication date: 18/09/2018
The Belgian life sciences venture fund V-Bio Ventures (www.v-bio.ventures) today announces that it joins the “Series B” financing round of Horama (www.horama.fr). Horama is a French biotech company based in Paris and Nantes, which specialises in gene therapy for the treatment of rare genetic diseases in ophthalmology. Willem Broekaert, Managing Partner at V-Bio Ventures, will be appointed to the Horama Board.
This fundraising will mainly support the development of Horama's lead program, HORA-PDE6B. HORA-PDE6B is a drug candidate for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa caused by mutations in the PDE6B gene. This gene replacement therapy provides a non-mutated copy of the PDE6B gene to express a functional PDE6β protein. There is today no treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. HORA-PDE6B is currently undergoing a Phase I/II clinical study which was started in November 2017.
Horama also has in its portfolio HORA-RLPB1, a gene therapy product aimed at treating RLBP1-based retinal dystrophy, which is currently in preclinical phase, as well as other preclinical gene therapy programs.
For Christine Placet, CEO, and Russell Greig, Chairman of Horama: "We are delighted to welcome V-Bio Ventures among Horama’s investors. This new financial partner takes part in our ambition and commitment to develop innovative treatments for rare ocular diseases. Their trust and support, illustrated by this fundraising, will be another lever allowing us to speed up our development of new treatments for patients, such as HORA-PDE6B for treating retinitis pigmentosa."
"Horama's solid scientific data package combined with its goal-oriented approach and highly experienced management team, attracted us to this investment opportunity," says Willem Broekaert, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of V-Bio Ventures. " New gene therapy treatments in the ophthalmic field hold a lot of promise for patients with visual impairment, and we are delighted to help Horama reach its ambitious goals in this field."
About V-Bio Ventures
V-Bio Ventures (www.v-bio.ventures) is an independent venture capital firm specialized in building and financing young, innovative life science companies. V-Bio Ventures was established in 2015 and works closely with Belgium-based VIB, one of the world’s premier life science institutes. The fund invests throughout Europe in start-up and early-stage companies with high growth potential focusing on technologies that provide transformational improvements in the biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and agricultural sectors.
Horama (www.horama.fr) is a clinical-stage biotech company that develops gene-therapy treatments, based on recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors, targeting rare inherited retinal diseases. Horama was founded in 2014 by a team of academic researchers who conducted, in 2011, one of the first clinical trials of gene therapy applied to ophthalmology in France.
HORA-PDE6B is a recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector developed for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa due to a mutation in the PDE6B gene. This gene replacement therapy provides an unmutated copy of the human PDE6B gene to replace the defective gene, in order to induce the expression of a functional PDE6β protein in the rod outer segment. HORA-PDE6B is administered as a sterile suspension of viral particles, injected directly into the subretinal space. This triggers the expression of the transgene in the rods as well as in the cones.