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French gene therapy company raises EUR32M Series A financing to tackle LHON and RP

A new Paris-based private company, “GenSight Biologics Inc”, focused on gene therapy treatments for ophthalmic disease, has announced the successful closing of a EUR32M Series A funding round. The investment represents the second largest European Series A funding of 2013. The financing, co-led by Novartis Venture Fund, Abingworth, Versant Ventures and Index Ventures, is understood to be tranched into three drawdowns of EUR18M, EUR7M and EUR7M, dependent on the achievement of certain milestones. The company is aiming to develop a gene therapy replacement using a recombinant AAV2/2 vector carrying the ND4 gene (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4) to treat Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), and an optogenetic approach to restoring vision in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients.