Invizius has announced the closing of a Series A financing round worth £5.3 million. The Scottish biotechnology company will use this funding to complete a first-in-man safety study next year of its H-Guard Priming Solution, which is intended to reduce the life-threatening inflammatory effects of haemodialysis.
“Invizius has been founded on world-class research carried out at the University of Edinburgh by the company’s CTO, Andy Herbert, and backed by an excellent management team and high-calibre investors,” said Peter Mathieson, principal and vice chancellor of the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK), and a former NHS consultant nephrologist. “The H-Guard Priming Solution could revolutionise 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.”
In a press release, Invizius, which develops treatments to suppress unwanted, innate immune responses, stated that there are currently 3.3 million haemodialysis patients worldwide receiving treatment multiple times per week. This number was set to increase by 6% year on year before the onset of COVID-19, but the increase in dialysis patient numbers is now likely be even higher given the long-term damage the virus can have on patients’ kidneys.
The company’s H-Guard Priming Solution comprises a novel protein that lines the inside of a dialysis filter, helping dialysis take place without being detected 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. According to Invizius, the technology may also be used with other devices or treatments, such as continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), cardiopulmonary bypass, organ transplants and immunomodulating therapeutics.
Preparations are already well-underway to complete the first-in-man safety study of the H-Guard Priming Solution, Invizius has also claimed. The company 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 leading renal research centre University Medical Centre Groningen (Groningen, The Netherlands). Invizius stated it has established the regulatory pathway in North America, and the potential for coincident approval in Europe.
“We are very pleased with the continued support of our existing investors and delighted to attract two new, high-calibre investors,” said Invizius CEO Richard Boyd. “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 for 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 more than £1.5 billion.”
The newly announced £5.3 million financing round was led by a number of Invizius’ existing investors including Mercia, Downing Ventures, Old College Capital, Scottish Enterprise and Solvay Ventures, as well as new investors Calculus Capital and experienced life sciences entrepreneur Jonathan Milner. Although already over-subscribed, the company’s Series A funding round will remain open to other investors until June 2021.