Amsterdam, the Netherlands, February 10, 2014 / B3C newswire / – Audion Therapeutics announced today that it has received a Series A investment from Eli Lilly and Company to enable the company to progress its programs targeting sensorineural hearing loss. As part of the investment, the parties also entered into a licensing agreement that gives Audion the rights to certain Lilly compounds that can be developed to potentially treat hearing loss by hair cell regeneration. Under the terms of the license, Lilly has an option to reacquire these rights upon successful clinical Proof of Concept. Financial terms were not disclosed. Following the investment, Mr. Shaun Hawkins, Vice President of Lilly New Ventures, has become a member of Audion’s Supervisory Board.
Rolf Jan Rutten, CEO of Audion commented: “This commitment by Lilly is an important next step in the development of our company. The investment validates our scientific approach and it underlines the potential of our hair cell regeneration program. It allows us to expand our infrastructure with a laboratory facility in Cambridge, Mass. and gives us access to a selection of Lilly’s potent, proprietary molecules that will push Audion’s lead program significantly forward”.
About Hearing Loss
Of people aged 65 to 74, nearly 33 percent have hearing loss and close to 50 percent of people over the age of 75 are affected. Almost everyone over the age of 85 is affected to some extent. The number of people in the world with age-related hearing loss is expected to increase to 900 million by 2050. The incidence is rising rapidly among younger people as well, due to frequent exposure to excessive noise. Estimates from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place the total annual costs of hearing loss at approximately $50 billion per year in the U.S. alone. There are currently no prescription products for a disease modifying treatment for hearing loss.
About Audion Therapeutics
Audion Therapeutics is a private biopharmaceutical company based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Cambridge, USA that is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs and delivery technologies for the treatment of diseases affecting the ear. Audion management includes Rolf Jan Rutten, CEO and Helmuth van Es, CSO. The company is developing technologies originating from the laboratory of Albert Edge at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.