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LambdaVision Announces First Closing of Seed Round to Advance Artificial Retina Preclinical Studies for Retinal Eye Diseases

2024年05月29日 PM09:00
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FARMINGTON, Conn.

LambdaVision, an innovative biotech company developing a protein-based artificial retina to help patients regain sight lost to retinal degenerative diseases, announced it secured the first closing of its seed round being led by Aurelia Foundry Fund, a fund spun out of MIT. The round also includes investment from Boryung, a publicly listed Korean pharmaceutical company, and E2MC Ventures. The targeted raise will fund LambdaVision’s GMP manufacturing scale up and critical IND-enabling efficacy and toxicity studies, advancing LambdaVision closer to clinical trials initially targeted for blind patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

“This support from the Aurelia Foundry Fund and other high-profile investors underscores the potential of our approach toward treating retinal degenerative diseases and further validates our innovative space-based manufacturing approach to benefit those on Earth,” said Nicole Wagner, Ph.D., CEO of LambdaVision. “We are grateful for the support of our new partners and hope to welcome additional institutions or qualified investors to fill the seed round.”

LambdaVision is developing the first protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for patients who are blind or have lost significant sight due to RP and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). While the preclinical studies are being conducted on Earth, LambdaVision is optimizing assembly of its artificial retina in low-Earth orbit. Because of the unique behavior of solutions and thin films that make up the layers of the artificial retina, production efficiency and product quality may be improved in microgravity.

“We are proud to lead this seed round with LambdaVision and eager to support bringing a life-changing product to market,” said Ariel Ekblaw, GP, Aurelia Foundry Fund. “Funding their paradigm-shifting artificial retina technology aligns with our mission to invest in foundational space tech that can empower humanity and offers the space industry a scalable solution for in-space bio manufacturing that leverages microgravity.”

The protein-based artificial retina is developed through a layer-by-layer production process alternating layers of the protein, bacteriorhodopsin, and a polymer, supported by a membrane of a synthetic fiber that has long been used by the medical community. By using a protein similar to the visual pigment rhodopsin that is naturally occurring in our eyes, LambdaVision’s patent-protected artificial retina mimics the light-absorbing properties of human photoreceptors.

Separately, the company has recently received a Notice of Allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a worldwide patent application, which includes a definition of the production process and functional features of the artificial retina technology.

“Recognizing the huge unmet need for RP patients for whom there is currently no cure, it is imperative we support the research and development of new technologies like LambdaVision’s artificial retina that will hopefully help patients regain sight,” said Luciano V. Del Priore, MD, PhD, Robert R. Young Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science; Chair of Ophthalmology at Yale School of Medicine, and Chief of Ophthalmology, Yale New Haven Hospital.

LambdaVision has been previously selected as an awardee of the 2023 Humans In Space Challenge, a global space healthcare challenge co-hosted by Aurelia Institute, through which the investment from Boryung was executed. To date, LambdaVision has secured >$17 million in funding and launched 9 missions to the International Space Station. LambdaVision has previously received funds from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) including Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and commercialization awards, as well as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), among others.

About LambdaVision

LambdaVision is developing a protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for the millions of patients blinded by retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The patent-protected artificial retina technology developed by LambdaVision uses photoactive proteins to naturally mimic the light-absorbing properties of human photoreceptor cells and activate neuroreceptors still present in degenerated retinas of blind patients. LambdaVision’s artificial retina is one of the first technologies being evaluated on the International Space Station that has potential for clinical use, and the established microgravity manufacturing processes, quality control methods, and laboratory techniques provide a foundation for future clinical research in space. To learn more, visit lambdavision.com.

About Aurelia Foundry

Aurelia Foundry is a deep tech space fund, investing in companies utilizing space for the benefit of life on Earth. As part of the broader Aurelia ecosystem, the fund works closely with the Aurelia Institute, a non-profit space architecture R&D lab, education and outreach center, and policy hub dedicated to building humanity’s future in space. The fund invests in both spin outs of the Institute and external startups building foundational technologies that will empower humanity.

About Boryung

Boryung is a healthcare investment company founded in 1957 and headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Following the company’s mission to become an indispensable contributor to human health, it has expanded their business portfolio to the space healthcare industry. Recognizing space as a new realm for growth, Boryung acknowledges the increasing number of individuals anticipated to embark on prolonged space missions, highlighting the importance of ensuring human survival in the hostile space environment. Hence, the company believes there will be substantial opportunities to foster new technologies and meet emerging needs in this field.

About E2MC

E2MC (Earth to Mars Capital) is a U.S.-based venture capital firm acting globally, with over 20 investments already, and dedicated to advancing the space economy by financing early-stage startups and paving the way for humanity’s expansion into space. We partner with visionary founders and leverage our extensive global network and deep industry knowledge in their support. Our motto “From Earth into space, for Earth,” underscores our dedication to harnessing space technology for global advancement and sustainable development, believing that such efforts will inevitably better humanity.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240529211796/en/

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