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9 December, 2016 - 10:27 By Kate Sweeney

Eye opener as Exonate raises £1.5 million from angels

An Australian venture fund is among the investors in a near-£1.5 million angel round for Cambridge and Nottingham-based biotech startup Exonate.

The money will be used to accelerate development of Exonate's first therapeutic area of interest – an eye drop for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration as a much needed alternative to the current treatment by eye injections.

This is Exonate's third angel round and is bolstered by further investment from the Angel Co Fund. The round also welcomed new investment from Australian venture fund Uniseed; University of Bristol Enterprise Fund, managed by Parkwalk; Martlet of Cambridge; Wren Capital as well as further angel investors and O2h Ventures.

Exonate's strategy is to maintain focus on topical delivery of ophthalmology products for diseases of the back of the eye and to expand its science base to address other disease areas including cancer.

The UK business believes that its approach to wet AMD can provide significant improvements for patients in both efficacy of drug and a reduction in unpleasant injections into the eye.

By leveraging the truly global span of this investment Exonate is poised to become a successful company making scientific progress on three continents.
Exonate, which has operations at Cambridge Science Park, has an international management team with a wealth of clinical and startup experience to exploit the Nottingham University IP.

CEO Dr Catherine Beech said: “Exonate's early data is very promising and we have a clear aspiration to successfully deliver medicines in areas of unmet need. The funding will enable us to progress our currents programmes to develop drugs that can be easily administered as eye drops, improve adherence and benefit patients.”

Peter Cowley at Martlet, the corporate angel fund of the £2 billion turnover Marshall of Cambridge added: “Martlet is pleased to add Exonate to our 35+ early stage investments. The experienced management team and board, together with a Cambridge base, fits ideally within our investment criteria.”

Chairman Sunil Shah stressed the potential reach of the technology. He said: “Without the involvement of our investors Exonate's scientific innovations would not be able to benefit patients with wet AMD or in the future potential patients with cancer, fibrosis and diseases of the kidney.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Exonate CEO, Dr Catherine Beech

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