AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, Sept. 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Audion Therapeutics announced today that it has received a 2.5 million Euro Series B investment from INKEF Capital, a Netherlands based venture capital firm. In addition, Audion announced that, together with a strong international consortium of development partners, it was awarded a 5.8 million Euro grant through the Horizon 2020 program. The combined funds of 8.3 million Euro enable Audion to progress its lead program targeting sensorineural hearing loss to clinical Proof of Concept.
Rolf Jan Rutten, CEO of Audion commented on these important milestones: “The investment from INKEF Capital and the receipt of the Horizon 2020 grant show that there is an increased commitment in both the private and public sector to develop pharmaceutical approaches to treat sensorineural hearing loss. It furthermore confirms Audion’s leading position in this rapidly growing field and validates the potential of our lead program. Our excellent industrial and academic partners with whom we form the REGAIN consortium under the Horizon 2020 program are essential in our effort to bring a hearing loss treatment to patients.”
Dirk Kersten, managing director at INKEF Capital will join Audion’s Supervisory Board. Mr. Kersten believes there is a great potential for Audion’s technology as this is “one of the leading drug therapy initiatives focused on treating a debilitating clinical condition that impacts so many people globally. The international network of collaborators that Audion has built includes premier research institutes like the UCL Ear Institute and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. This network is an important and valuable asset for the company.”
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 pharmaceutical company based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Cambridge, MA, USA that is dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs and delivery technologies for the treatment of diseases affecting the ear. Audion’s lead program targets sensorineural hearing loss caused by the loss of inner ear hair cells. Audion is developing molecules it has licensed from Eli Lilly with the objective to regenerate lost hair cells. Contact: Rolf Jan Rutten +31646767255
About Inkef Capital
INKEF is an Amsterdam, the Netherlands, based venture capital firm that is focused on the long-term collaboration and active support of innovative technology companies. INKEF was founded in 2010 by Dutch pension fund ABP and with € 200 million under management, it is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Netherlands. INKEF focuses on investment opportunities in Healthcare, Technology and IT/NewMedia and prefers to participate from series A round financing onwards. www.inkefcapital.com
About Horizon 2020:
The Horizon 2020 is the EU program for Research and Innovation focusing on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation. It promises breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. Audion is the coordinator for the REGAIN consortium, that has the objective to develop the first regenerative drug for treating sensorineural hearing loss. Apart from Audion the consortium consists of Eli Lilly, Clinquest Services and Ttopstart as industrial partners and University College London and UCLH (University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Eberhard- Kals University of Tubingen and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as academic partners.