Leaders in ophthalmology drug development launch new global company
to build and advance diversified portfolio of ocular therapies
LONDON and NEW YORK, February 22, 2022 – Eyebiotech Limited (EyeBio), a privately held ophthalmology biotechnology company working to deliver a new generation of therapies for eye diseases, today announced the completion of a successful $65 million Series A funding round. SV Health Investors led the round, alongside Samsara BioCapital and Jeito Capital, with additional financial backing from MRL Ventures. The Series A brings together an international team of executives and investors with an extensive track record for developing ground-breaking ophthalmology therapies.
EyeBio was founded in August 2021 by David Guyer, M.D., and Anthony P. Adamis, M.D., working with collaborators at SV Health Investors, who provided seed funding and helped to recruit leadership and to initiate pipeline development. Previously, Dr. Guyer and Dr. Adamis collaborated with SV Health Investors to co-found Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, where they developed and commercialized the first anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drug for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2005.
EyeBio launches with a specific mission: to protect, restore, and improve vision for people who are underserved by available eye disease therapies. The company will use proceeds from the Series A to assemble and develop a diversified pipeline of product candidates that combines scientifically compelling targets with innovative translational approaches. The company has established a footprint in the United Kingdom to take advantage of the innovation-friendly environment for its clinical trial development. EyeBio welcomes inquiries regarding in-licensing and acquisition of assets into its portfolio.
“Advances in research are revealing new opportunities to translate science into solutions that serve patients with eye diseases who have urgent and unaddressed medical needs,” said Dr. Guyer, Co-Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of EyeBio. “Patients and physicians deserve new and better solutions, which is why this team of serial disruptors has banded together to form EyeBio. We are launching at an exciting time, and we are equipped with the resources to make a significant impact.”
“EyeBio is well positioned to improve outcomes for patients by addressing a segment of ophthalmology that needs further innovation,” said Dr. Adamis, Co-Founder, Director, and Chair of the Advisory Board of EyeBio. “Success requires an ability to execute and deliver new therapies with speed and quality. EyeBio has the talent, skillset, and willingness to introduce new solutions to address familiar problems.”
Prior to co-founding EyeBio, Dr. Guyer served as executive chairman and CEO of Iveric Bio, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for retinal diseases. Dr. Adamis previously served as Senior Vice President of Development Innovation at Genentech, a member of The Roche Group. Over his career, he led development programs in multiple therapeutic areas and oversaw 25 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals.
The EyeBio management team combines deep experience in ophthalmology with proven innovation and success in clinical development. Leadership includes:
- Sarah Milsom, Chief Operating Officer, who most recently was Vice President of Translation at Touchlight Genetics and has a background in life sciences strategy, development, and commercialization;
- Jonathan Prenner, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, a nationally recognized retinal specialist and current Clinical Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School;
- Divya Chadha Manek, OBE, Senior Vice President of Clinical Development, who most recently was Director of Business Development and Marketing for the U.K.’s National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network. She also served as the clinical trials workstream lead with the U.K. Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) overseeing the U.K. COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials portfolio;
- Paul Stephens, Senior Vice President of Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC), who previously was Senior Director and Head of Antibody Biology at UCB and brings more than 35 years of experience in the biotechnology industry; and
- Sam Smart, Vice President of Finance, who most recently was Head of Operations at Artios Pharma and brings more than 25 years of experience in the life sciences.
The EyeBio Board of Directors is chaired by Kate Bingham, Managing Partner at SV Health Investors, who was most recently Chair of the U.K. Vaccine Taskforce (VTF). Other Board members include:
- Mike Ross, Ph.D., Managing Partner at SV Health Investors, where he has co-led the biotech franchise for more than 20 years, following more than 20 years in senior operating executive roles for leading biotechnology companies;
- Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Managing General Partner at Samsara BioCapital, with more than 20 years of experience in life sciences venture capital;
- Andreas Wallnoefer, Ph.D., Partner at Jeito Capital, who has extensive experience in the industry as a former member of the Roche R&D Executive Leadership team, where he was involved in several successful product developments, and subsequently as a biotech investor at BioMedPartners; and
- The two co-founders of EyeBio, Anthony P. Adamis, M.D., and David Guyer, M.D.
“EyeBio is a perfect example of SV’s strategy to build world-class companies around emerging science to deliver high-impact drugs to patients,” said Kate Bingham. “The transatlantic team gives us access to the best of clinical development in the U.K. as well as the U.S. I’m thrilled to have the team back together. Srini (Srinivas Akkaraju) and I were the first major investors in Eyetech, where we worked closely with Tony (Anthony P. Adamis) and David. Andreas also has history with the team as he and Tony worked together at Roche to bring faricimab1 to its recent approval.”
Eyebiotech Limited (EyeBio) is a privately held ophthalmology biotechnology company dedicated to developing and delivering a new generation of therapies to protect, restore, and improve vision in patients with sight-threatening eye diseases. Founded in August 2021 by David Guyer, M.D. and Anthony P. Adamis, M.D., EyeBio has a leadership team composed of serial disruptors in ophthalmology drug development. With operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, EyeBio is building and advancing a pipeline of ocular therapies that combine scientifically robust targets with innovative translational approaches. For more information, please see www.eyebiotech.com.
About SV Health Investors
SV Health Investors is a leading healthcare fund manager committed to investing in tomorrow’s healthcare breakthroughs. The SV family of funds invests across stages, geographic regions, and sectors, with expertise spanning biotechnology, dementia, healthcare growth, healthcare technology and public equities. With approximately $2.7 billion in assets under management and a truly transatlantic presence with offices in Boston and London, SV has built an extensive network of talented investment professionals and experienced industry veterans. Since its founding in 1993, SV has invested in more than 200 companies with more than 90 of these having achieved successful acquisitions or IPOs. For more information, please see www.svhealthinvestors.com.
About Samsara BioCapital
Samsara BioCapital is a new breed of biotech investment fund focused on translating cutting-edge biology into new therapies to treat patients with unmet medical needs. Founded in 2016 by Srinivas Akkaraju, M.D., Ph.D., our team of scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs takes a long-term view to value creation across all stages of public and private life science companies. We believe in a collaborative, hands-on approach, working closely with entrepreneurs to harness exciting scientific advances and build leading companies. Samsara actively manages over US $1 billion in assets on behalf of endowments, foundations, and family offices. For more information, visit www.samsaracap.com.
About Jeito Capital
Jeito Capital is a global leading investment company with a patient benefit-driven approach that finances and accelerates the development and growth of ground-breaking medical innovation. Jeito empowers and supports entrepreneurs through its expert, integrated, multi-talented team and through the investment of significant capital to ensure the growth of companies, building market leaders in their respective therapeutic areas with accelerated patients’ access in Europe and the United States. Jeito Capital has €534 million under management. Jeito Capital is based in Paris with a presence in Europe and the United States. For more information, please visit www.jeito.life, or follow on Twitter @Jeito_life or LinkedIn.
About MRL Ventures
MRL Ventures Fund (MRLV) is the therapeutics-focused corporate venture fund of Merck & Co., Inc., with headquarters in Kenilworth, N.J., USA. From its headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., USA, the MRLV team invests globally in early-stage innovative therapeutics companies that are developing transformative medicines in any therapeutic area using any modality. The MRLV team of experienced life-sciences venture capital professionals is committed to supporting great entrepreneurs in their quest to create value through building companies that have a meaningful impact on health and disease. For more information, please visit: www.mrlv.com.
- Vabysmo® (faricimab-svoa) is approved by the FDA for the treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME)