New leading international life science investors join current institutional investors with proceeds to:
- Advance novel, late-stage Investigational ophthalmology drugs OCS-01 and OCS-02 and deliver the first topical drug for retinal edema.
- Expand Oculis pipeline of innovative ophthalmology candidates targeting major unmet needs.
- Execute the Company’s international strategy to become a global ophthalmology player.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, May 4th, 2021 – Oculis S.A., (Oculis) a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of patients, today announced that it has closed an oversubscribed US$57 million Series C financing. The round was co-led by new investors BVCF Management and Hyfinity Investments, with VI Partners and Wille AG joining the company’s existing investors, Bay City Capital, Brunnur Ventures, EarlyBird, funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Nan Fung Life Sciences, Novartis Venture Fund, Silfurberg, as well as other existing investors. This excellent syndication further broadens Oculis’ strong shareholder base of leading life sciences investors from the US, China and Europe.
Proceeds from this financing will accelerate Oculis’ strategy with the aim of delivering key goals in the near-term to drive shareholder value and bring transformative therapies to patients. The targeted milestones cover the development of novel topical therapies for ophthalmic diseases targeting the retina and anterior segment with high unmet needs, including:
- Advancing Oculis’ late-stage transformative topical Ophthalmic portfolio:
- Move OCS-01 into Phase 3 trials in Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and complete registration studies in the treatment of Inflammation and Pain following Ocular Surgery. Phase 2 results in DME presented in 2020 showed efficacy and safety of OCS-01, and the first Phase 3 study is scheduled to commence during the second quarter 2021. This groundbreaking therapy is designed and well positioned to become the first topical treatment for retinal edema.
- Advance OCS-02 into Phase 2b trials targeting Dry Eye Disease (DED) and Chronic Anterior Uveitis as a steroid-sparing treatment. OCS-02 is a novel topical anti-TNF alpha antibody fragment, which has demonstrated efficacy and safety in two clinical proof of concept studies in moderate-to-severe DED and Acute Anterior Uveitis. A novel gene variant identified during a previous trial in highly responding DED patients may enable OCS-02 to become the first personalized therapeutic in Severe DED.
- Expanding pipeline of innovative ophthalmology candidates targeting major unmet needs using Oculis’ proprietary formulation discovery platform and going beyond.
- Executing the Company’s international strategy to become a global player to deliver its mission on developing transformative innovative ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of patients globally.
In conjunction with the closing, Vanessa Huang, General Partner at BVCF Management, and Dr. Sylvia He, Managing Partner at Hyfinity Investments are joining the Oculis Board of Directors while Dr. David Weber and Dr. Thorsteinn Loftsson are stepping down.
“We are entering an exciting new phase of our journey as we advance towards late-stage development and prepare the organization to successfully bring novel therapies to millions of patients worldwide. We feel fortunate to be welcoming such high caliber and diversified new investors and are delighted with the continued support of our existing investors – the quality and breadth of our shareholder base is testament to the exceptional science, groundbreaking development, and the multiple opportunities we have to transform positively patients’ lives globally. Their support and involvement will be crucial for Oculis as we continue to build a global ophthalmology company with a footprint in key markets,” said Riad Sherif, MD, CEO of Oculis, “Further, on behalf of our Board, investors and management team, I would like to thank Dr. Loftsson and Dr. Weber for their positive contributions to and impact on Oculis through their services on the Board.”
Dr. Zhi Yang, Managing Partner at BVCF Management, added: “Oculis’ innovative science and transformative topical approach to address sight-threatening diseases have the potential to significantly extend the reach of such therapies to larger numbers of patients, improving accessibility and compliance and ultimately clinical outcomes. This unrivalled potential, the strength of the international team at Oculis, and growing unmet medical needs in major key markets around the world are the key factors behind the decision by BVCF and our fellow investors to participate in this new financing round. Together, we look forward to Oculis’ exciting journey ahead.”
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland with global operations in Europe and the U.S., Oculis is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative innovative ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of patients. Oculis has a robust and expansive development portfolio including late-stage novel topical (eye drop) treatments, which are non-invasive and represent an unprecedented technical advance for patients with retinal edema and front-of-the-eye diseases. In addition, Oculis’ formulation discovery and innovation capabilities enable the development of a pipeline of topical drugs targeting sight-threatening eye diseases that affect both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye.
To learn more, please visit www.oculis.com
About BVCF Management
BVCF Management, Ltd. (“BVCF”) is a healthcare investment company that launches and manages funds which invest in global growth stage healthcare companies with a China focus. BVCF actively assist business owners and entrepreneurs to build their companies into world-class businesses. To date, BVCF has raised five funds. It is headquartered in Shanghai, China with offices in Beijing and Hong Kong SAR.
To learn more, please visit www.bvcf.com
About Hyfinity Investments
Hyfinity Investments is devoted to advancing global innovation targeting high unmet needs and bringing in the rich clinical resources in China. Hyfinity Investments is led by senior partners from top-tier investment institutions in China, with years of experience in healthcare investment, local operation, and overseas licensing. Its mission is to foster industry leaders through converging resources globally.
To learn more, please visit www.hyfinityfund.com
About VI Partners
VI Partners is the longest-established Swiss VC firm. For more than 20 years, VI Partners has been supporting innovative Healthcare and Technology companies, investing over CHF 250m in 55 ventures. VI Partners initially has been advising Venture Incubator fund, an investment vehicle founded by ten blue-chip Swiss corporations, and more recently established VI Partners Swiss Innovation Fund.
To learn more, please visit www.vipartners.ch
About Wille AG
Wille AG is a Multi Family Office based in Switzerland. Wille AG is an active private equity investor in Life Science and Software venture companies as well as in Buy-Out companies. Wille’s portfolio encompasses 35 companies across Europe, Israel and the US.
To learn more, please visit www.willefinance.com
Further Information: www.oculis.com
Image: RIAD SHERIF, MD, Chief Executive Officer (c) Oculis