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3 January, 2019 - 08:54 By Kate Sweeney

Australians back Cambridge eye drop technology

Early stage Cambridge biotech business Exonate has raised £1.5 million in its fourth financing round.

The Angel CoFund, Australian venture fund Uniseed, University of Bristol Enterprise Fund, managed by Parkwalk, Martlet of Cambridge, Wren Capital, O2h Ventures plus other angel backers all contributed. The UK company has now raised around £9 million so far.

The new money will help accelerate the development of Exonate’s lead product – an eye drop for the treatment of retinal neovascular diseases.

The company says it continues to make substantial progress and in February 2018, achieved a key milestone with the nomination of its preferred compound for pre-clinical development.

Development of this lead product is on track to enter clinical trials in the first indication, Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO), in 2020.

Exonate’s strategy is to introduce a revolutionary, game changing topical eye drop for the treatment of retinal vascular diseases. The company has developed small molecules that inhibit the production of pro-angiogenic VEGF through the selective inhibition of serine/threonine-protein kinase (SRPK1)-mediated VEGF splicing.

Already these inhibitors are said to have demonstrated superior efficacy as topical agents in preclinical models of wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

CEO Dr Catherine Beech said: “Exonate believes that our approach to retinal diseases has the potential to significantly improve patients’ lives by providing greater efficacy of a drug and an alternative option to the current treatment of injections straight into the eye. The monies raised will enable us to progress the first of our innovative treatments towards clinical development.”

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