(Left to right) Dr Magnus Nicolson, COO; Richard Boyd, CEO; Eric Beard, Chairman; Dr Andy Herbert, CTO; James Robson, CFO
BioCity, Scotland, 6th May 2021
Invizius, a biotechnology company developing treatments to suppress unwanted innate immune responses, today announces that it has closed Series A financing of £5.3 million. The financing was led by existing investors Mercia, Downing Ventures, Old College Capital, Scottish Enterprise, Solvay Ventures and new investors Calculus Capital and experienced life science entrepreneur and investor, Dr Jonathan Milner. Although already over-subscribed, the company’s Series A remains open to other investors until June 2021.
Invizius will use the financing to complete a First-in-Man safety study in 2022 of its H-Guard® Priming Solution to reduce the life-threatening inflammatory effects of haemodialysis.
There are currently 3.3 million haemodialysis patients worldwide who receive treatment multiple times a week. This number was set to increase by 6% year on year before the onset of COVID-19, however the increase in patients will now likely be higher given the long-term damage that the virus can wreak on patients’ kidneys. For particularly ill patients with COVID-19, the virus can cause acute kidney failure which can eventually turn into chronic kidney failure – with the only treatment options being either lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.
The H-Guard® Priming Solution comprises a novel protein that lines the inside of the dialysis filter and helps dialysis to take place undetected by the body’s immune system. This suppresses the blood’s foreign body response, thereby preventing a repetitive, hostile inflammatory reaction that increases the risk of cardiovascular complications. The technology may also be used with other devices or treatments such as CRRT, ECMO, cardiopulmonary bypass, organ transplants and immunomodulating therapeutics.
Preparations are already well-underway to complete the First-in-Man safety study. Invizius has developed the protein manufacturing process with high confidence in purity and yield targets, and has received promising preliminary results from ex-vivo testing in human blood at University Medical Centre Groningen a leading European renal research centre. Invizius has established the regulatory pathway in North America and the potential for coincident approval in Europe.
Richard Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of Invizius, said: “We are very pleased with the continued support of our existing investors and delighted to attract two new high calibre investors. There is a global healthcare need and significant commercial opportunity for the proprietary H-Guard® Priming Solution treatment which has the potential to improve quality of life and safety of patients on dialysis with kidney failure. Dialysis treatment can reduce life expectancy by two thirds and almost half of patients die from cardiovascular complications. We are initially targeting patients with high innate immune response to dialysis, a worldwide market estimated to be worth over £1.5 billion.”
Professor Peter Mathieson, previously 19 years as a consultant nephrologist in the NHS and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Invizius has been founded on world-class research carried out at the University of Edinburgh by the company’s CTO, Dr Andy Herbert, and backed by an excellent management team and high calibre investors. The H-Guard priming solution could revolutionize kidney dialysis, it has the potential to significantly reduce inflammation and its associated complications. I am very excited to see the company progress and bring this product to market.”