California-based company Graybug Vision Inc. has announced the closing of a $44.5 million Series B financing to support commercialisation of a novel AMD therapeutic which may reduce dosing to as little as two injections per annum. The company is developing its lead drug for wet AMD, GB-102, and will employ the investment to complete a phase 2 clinical trial of the drug. The company’s small molecule compound is a dual acting inhibitor of VEGF and PDGF receptors and, according to the company, may be effective when administered only twice per year in wet AMD patients. The company will also apply its proprietary injectable depot technology to test the potential for twice per year treatment of glaucoma from a subconjunctival injection.
The significant venture capital funding was provided by Deerfield Management Company, OrbiMed Advisors and Clarus Ventures, in addition to prior investors Hatteras Venture Partners. Commenting on the investment Cameron Wheeler, PhD, Principal at Deerfield stated, ”We are very excited to work with Graybug Vision to support the significant improvement in care for patients suffering from AMD and glaucoma. This technology is a testament to the early academic work that is done at universities, and we are proud to support the Graybug Vision team and founders from Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Jeffrey L. Cleland, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Graybug commented that, “The significant level of investor interest in our Series B financing is further validation of both the approach and the potential of our lead compound, GB-102, to block both the VEGF and PDGF pathways from a single, twice per year injection. We are also pleased with the significant investigator interest we’ve already received for our planned Phase 1/2 clinical program.”
Graybug originally licensed their technology from John Hopkins University following early-stage development by co-founders Justin Hanes, Peter Campochiaro and Peter McDonnell. According to the company, a 6-month study of GB-102 in animals has demonstrated the ability of the technology to block both VEGF and PDGF after a single intravitreal injection. The company has also stated that the FDA has agreed with Graybug’s plans for GB-102 IND-enabling studies and for a phase 1/2 study in wet AMD patients scheduled for Q1 2017.