A biotech company with a product that helps to heal eye injuries and could revolutionise treatment of other wounds has raised a further £1.8m.
Nottingham-based NuVision Biotherapies has secured funding from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, Mercia’s EIS funds, Newable Ventures and private investors.
The latest funding round – the fourth to date – brings the total raised by the company to almost £5m and will allow it to expand sales and carry out further clinical trials in the run-up to a Series A investment in 2022.
NuVision’s technology harnesses the healing properties of amniotic membrane, the sac that surrounds babies in the womb and is normally discarded at birth. Created using its proprietary manufacturing process, its first product Omnigen is already used in eye surgery to help heal wounds faster.
The company’s latest innovation, OmniLenz, is a ‘bandage contact lens’ which allows Omnigen to be applied without surgery in outpatient clinics to treat a wider range of conditions. It is currently being trialled by Aston University for use in dry eye disease, which affects over 5 million people in the UK and is the most common cause of visits to eye care practitioners.
NuVision’s technology also has potential to treat other wounds, in particular diabetic foot ulcers, which are a growing problem that affects over 10 million people worldwide. NuVision, a University of Nottingham spin-out company, was founded in 2015 by its CSO, Dr Andy Hopkinson, to commercialise his research.
Rob Bennett of Mercia, which has backed the company since its inception, said: “Since our initial investment in 2015, NuVision has achieved significant milestones and is now well placed to take advantage of market opportunities in the treatment of both chronic and acute eye disease. In the longer term, its technology could be adapted for other applications and has the potential to revolutionise woundcare.”
Newable Ventures invested in the company’s seed fundraise in 2019, and has followed on in this round. Avantika Gupta of Newable Ventures said: “Newable has been impressed by the strength of the NuVision technology and its unique disease modifying capability, we are delighted to continue to support them on their scale-up journey.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: “We’re delighted to see this latest round of investment, with continued support from the MEIF, enabling another business in the region to gear up for future growth. Now more than ever, the MEIF is ready to fund Midlands small businesses as they drive the region’s economic recovery and we’d encourage any businesses seeking investment to look at the options available through the fund.”
Sajeeda Rose, Chief Executive of the D2N2 LEP, said: “I’m pleased to see continued investment by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund in key and growing sectors in the region, which will support our economic recovery and growth. This investment will support NuVision’s long-term ambition and grow its pioneering technology for wider use in the healthcare market which is a priority sector for the D2N2 region.”
Amy Woodfine and Philippa Webster of 3volution provided legal advice to the company while Zickie Lim and Katharine Robinson of Mills & Reeve advised Mercia.
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.