-- Proceeds Will Advance Preclinical Crystallin Stabilizers for Treating and Preventing Cataracts and Presbyopia --
-- Founders, Board and Scientific Advisors Bring World-Class Experience in Protein Folding Disorders, Ophthalmology Drug Development and Venture Capital --
SAN FRANCISCO, May 05, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ViewPoint Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company pioneering the development of crystallin stabilizers to prevent and treat cataracts and presbyopia, today announced the closing of a $4 million Series A financing.
The transaction was co-led by Mission Bay Capital and Lagunita BioSciences LLC. Also included in the syndicate was healthcare-dedicated investor, the Biotechnology Value Fund, L.P., as well as the University of Michigan through its MINTS initiative, Asset Management Ventures, and other sophisticated individual investors. ViewPoint plans to use the proceeds of the financing to advance its lead candidate, VP1-001, a small molecule identified via a target-based screening and optimization effort, through preclinical proof of concept experiments. ViewPoint anticipates that the proceeds will also allow the Company to advance second-generation compounds from the Company’s ongoing medicinal chemistry efforts.
With this financing, the Company has expanded its Board of Directors to include Dr. Douglas Crawford, Managing Director of Mission Bay Capital and Dr. Mark Blumenkranz, Co-Founder and a Director of Lagunita BioSciences LLC. Other members of ViewPoint’s Board of Directors include: ViewPoint co-founders Dr. Jason Gestwicki, Associate Professor at the University of California San Francisco Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Dr. Leah Makley, ViewPoint’s Chief Scientific Officer, and Ed Hurwitz, Managing Director at Precision BioVentures, LLC. Dr. Emmett Cunningham, Partner at Clarus Ventures is an independent member of ViewPoint’s Board of Directors. For more information, please visit www.viewpointtherapeutics.com/bod/.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a sophisticated group of investors and advisors to ViewPoint,” said Ed Hurwitz, J.D., M.B.A., ViewPoint’s Executive Chairman. “Their shared vision, expertise and commitment to building an industry-leading company focused on crystallin biology will accelerate our efforts to develop first-in-class drugs that may transform the treatment paradigm for vision loss associated with presbyopia and cataracts.”
ViewPoint is focused on developing drugs to prevent or reverse protein misfolding, which is implicated in numerous common disorders of aging including cataracts, presbyopia, and neurodegenerative diseases. The Company’s efforts are supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with decades of experience in the fields of protein misfolding, crystallin biology, cataract etiology and medicinal chemistry. The Company’s SAB is chaired by Dr. Jeffery Kelly, Chairman, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute, founder of FoldRx and inventor of tafamidis. Other members of ViewPoint’s SAB include Dr. Usha Andley, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Washington University School of Medicine, Nobel Laureate Dr. Stanley Prusiner, Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor, Department of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Dr. Richard Labaudiniere, prior CEO of FoldRx. For more information about the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board, please visit www.viewpointtherapeutics.com/sab/.
“Recent advances in our fundamental understanding of crystallin protein folding, coupled with our development of high-throughput screening assays for crystallin protein ligands, have enabled ViewPoint to develop a potential non-surgical, disease-modifying treatment for cataracts for the first time,” said Leah Makley, Ph.D., ViewPoint’s Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer. “With this financing, we plan to build on our promising preclinical results and prepare for initial human clinical studies in patients with cataracts that are poorly addressed with conventional surgery.”
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens. Cataracts cause vision loss in approximately 50 percent of people over age 70 and are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Epidemiologic models estimate that approximately 15 million people in the world are blind due to untreated cataracts, with an additional 85 million suffering from low vision.
About ViewPoint Therapeutics
ViewPoint is a preclinical-stage biotechnology company passionately committed to the discovery, development, and commercialization of treatments for diseases of protein misfolding, including cataracts. ViewPoint was founded in 2014 based on technology developed in the lab of Jason Gestwicki at the University of Michigan in collaboration with the lab of Dr. Usha Andley at Washington University in St. Louis. Targeting α-crystallin, a genetically validated target that drives cataract pathology and presbyopia, ViewPoint is developing VP1-001, a small molecule that is active in preclinical models of age-related cataracts. VP1-001 is the first preclinical candidate from ViewPoint’s discovery engine. For more information, please visit www.viewpointtherapeutics.com.
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