MEIF - Proof of Concept

Biotech firm with product to help heal eye conditions raises £1m

NuVision – a Nottingham-based company with a product that speeds up healing of eye conditions – has raised a further £1.1m investment.

The funding has come from existing investors including 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, Pioneer Group (formerly the BioCity Group), the University of Nottingham and private investors. It will enable NuVision to accelerate the development of its first two products in advance of a Series A investment in the next 12 months.

NuVision’s wound dressings are manufactured from amniotic membrane, the sac that surrounds babies in the womb, and are used to aid the regeneration and healing of the eye’s surface. Its first product, Omnigen, is already approved for treatment on the NHS and is used in hospitals and private clinics in the UK and overseas.

Omnigen may be applied in the operating theatre or, when used in combination with the company’s bespoke bandage contact lens, OmniLenz, in the outpatient department or clinic. This enables patients to benefit from amniotic membrane without having to undergo surgery and can enable treatment at an earlier stage in the development of their condition.

Omnigen is a dry, room-temperature stable product that rehydrates on contact with natural moisture from the eye. NuVision was founded in 2015 by Dr Andy Hopkinson based on his research at the University of Nottingham. The latest funding round brings the total raised by the company to over £5m.

Andy Hill, CEO of NuVision, said: “We are delighted to receive further support from our existing investors. This investment round is an endorsement of our innovative new therapies for ocular care and our commitment to developing rapid and accessible treatment for ocular injury. The next stage of development is the scaling of our commercial and operational capabilities ahead of a planned Series A round in late 2023 or early 2024.”  

Mercia first invested in the company in 2015.

Hannah Tapsell, Investment Manager at Mercia Asset Management, said: “Amniotic membrane has been used in healing for almost a century. NuVision’s unique cutting-edge biotherapy harnesses the benefits but in a format that makes it far more powerful and effective. Its product is already in hospitals in the UK and there is scope to expand its use to other conditions. The funding will enable NuVision to continue the good work and roll it out internationally so more patients can reap the benefits.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager at the British Business Bank, said: The MEIF backs innovative businesses that create a positive impact in the Midlands region as a leader in their sectors. NuVision is the perfect example of how a university spin-out backed by investment can thrive to create a growing and sustainable business. We encourage other SMEs with similar business plans in the region to seek funding from the MEIF to scale up.” 

Pioneer, which operates the BioCity Nottingham site where NuVision is based, has a long-standing collaboration with the company, having previously provided it with seed funding and tailored accelerator support.

Dr. Glenn Crocker, Executive Director of Venture Capital Investments at Pioneer Group, said: “Our follow-on investment in NuVision reflects the quality of the company and its steady growth journey. We have been impressed by its uniquely innovative approach to treating ocular surface disease in a natural way. We are also confident that NuVision’s effective solutions for regenerating and healing the eye surface have the potential to become real game-changers in ocular care.”

Dr. Alice MacGowan, Life Science Executive, Nottingham Technology Ventures, said: “The science underpinning NuVision’s technology was developed at the University of Nottingham, and we are very proud to see the ongoing patient benefit stemming from that research. The University co-invested in the recent round, demonstrating its confidence in NuVision’s team, plans for scale, and, above all, the treatment approach.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund 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.