Johns Hopkins spinout AsclepiX Therapeutics raised $5 million in new funding that will assist in development of new treatment for eye diseases that are leading causes of blindness in adults.
The convertible note round was led by Barer & Son Capital, with participation from Rapha Capital Management, Salem Partners, TEDCO, and Piedmont Capital Partners. It brings the company’s total raised to $11 million.
The company was founded by Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering professors Aleksander Popel and Jordan J. Green, who developed peptide products that form the foundation of the company’s treatments.
With a team of four people at JHU’s FastForward space in Remington’s R. House, Ascelpix is developing a treatment for diseases called diabetic macular edema and wet age-related macular degeneration. According to the company, the number of people with the treatment is expected to reach 7 million by 2020.
Currently available treatments require an injection into the eye once a month for several months. AsclepiX Therapeutics’ first treatment, called ATX107, offers the potential for treating the diseases with fewer injections.
“In extensive animal testing, AXT107 was safe and superior to current approved therapies in preventing and even reversing progressive pathologic changes in the retina with just two to three injections per year, a clear benefit in longer duration and less frequent dosing compared to those currently approved therapies,” said AsclepiX Therapeutics CEO Wendy Perrow.
The funding will assist the company as it seeks to complete its application for investigational new drug status with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company is also planning for clinical trials for patients with diabetic macular edema and wet age-related macular degeneration.
With the investment, Barer and Sons Managing Partner Josh Barer, Rapha Capital Management Managing Partner Kevin Slawin, and Sapna Srivastava are joining the company’s board.
“Vision loss is a devastating complication of several common diseases, including diabetes. We’re excited at the potential of AXT107 to help millions avoid this difficult disability while requiring less frequent therapeutic interventions by their ophthalmologists,” Slawin said in a statement.