One month after its first investment in the Dutch company Neogene Therapeutics, Jeito Capital chooses to support a French biotech: SparingVision, specialist in gene therapy in ophthalmology. To bring together the 44.5 million euros from this funding round, the new tricolor fund is supported by Anglo-Saxon and European investors: 4Bio Capital, UPMC Enterprises and Ysios Capital. The historic shareholders bpifrance and Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), who had injected 15.5 million with the Voir et Entendre Foundation in 2016, are also participating in this extension of series A.
The value of SparingVision is based primarily on the globally recognized expertise of its founders: the professor José Alain Sahel, creator and director of the Institut de la Vision, at the origin of other innovative companies in ophthalmology including Gensight, and Thierry leveillard, director of research at Inserm and of the genetics department of the Institut de la Vision.
The differentiating point
Although only in the preclinical stage, SparingVision’s drug candidate, “SPVN06”, is already emerging as a therapeutic breakthrough to fight retinitis pigmentosa. This rare disease, which progresses to blindness and affects 2 million people worldwide, results from the mutation of more than 60 distinct genes. This is its differentiating point: “The entire concurrent clinical development is a gene-by-gene approach, while the drug developed by SparingVision is a patented gene therapy that will affect all patients, regardless of their genetic mutation”, explains Rafaèle Tordjman, founder and president of Jeito. “The only drug registered to date concerns only one gene and therefore treats only 2% of patients. “ This is Spark Therapeutics’ Luxturna, acquired by Roche for $ 4.3 billion in 2019.
Chaired for three months by Stephane Boissel, who spent eighteen years leading companies such as Innate Pharma, Genclis and Sangamo, SparingVision now has the means to become a prominent biotech in global ophthalmology. Before the end of 2020, it will submit a request for clinical studies in the United States and in Europe – where SPVN06 has obtained “orphan drug designation” status -, to start phase I from 2021, which will take place only in France on ten patients.
Creation date : 2016
CEO: Stephane Boissel
Amount: 44.5 million euros
Effective : 10 people