EyeD Pharma is developing micro-implants for drug release over a prolonged period of time.
Liege, 22 December 2021 - The Liège-based pharmaceutical company, EyeD Pharma, received the backing of Belgian families, entrepreneurs active in the life sciences and public authorities to raise new funds. The €45 million raised will allow EyeD Pharma to continue the development of its ophthalmic products using its technology platform and to obtain the first clinical data for humans.
EyeD Pharma was created in 2012, on the initiative of Professor Jean-Marie Rakic (head of the ophthalmology department of the University Hospital of Liège) and the Foidart family, supported by a group of other ophthalmologists and a few private individuals, to continue the development of its micro-implants that deliver controlled release of ophthalmic drugs through their innovative technological platform.
Motivated by improvements in the quality of life of patients and by ground-breaking innovation, EyeD Pharma is currently focusing on the treatment of glaucoma, an ocular pathology that mainly affects people over the age of 45 and is responsible for significant deterioration of vision in the latter.
With the launch of UniD Manufacturing in spring 2022, its production unit in the form of a CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organisation) located in the Sart-Tilman science park, EyeD Pharma’s teams will be able to accelerate and continue the development of products (currently four) with controlled release via intraocular micro-implants.
This new €45 million fundraising exercise takes the form of a €33.6 million capital increase, complemented by recoverable advances and subsidies from DG06 and the Mecatech cluster in the Walloon Region. These new resources will allow EyeD Pharma to finance the development and start clinical trials of its most advanced product candidate: TimoD. They will also allow the further development of three other drug candidates in various eye conditions. Finally, and this is a very important aspect, this fundraising will also allow EyeD Pharma to continue its growth with the creation of some twenty new jobs including managers, researchers, production and maintenance workers and logisticians. These new jobs will add to the 93 which have been created by EyeD Pharma in the Liège region since 2012.
This round of financing, which will be completed at the end of 2021, demonstrates the robustness and innovation of EyeD Pharma’s project, which has been able to convince a somewhat unique group of Walloon and Belgian family, entrepreneurial and public-sector players recognised in the field of life sciences who know how to develop a long-term vision for this type of investment. The Jolly and Noël families, among others via their holding company Nomainvest, Jean Stéphenne, Robert Taub, Didier Allaer (Diagenode), and the public funds SRIW and SFPI are among the new investors in EyeD Pharma. Among the existing shareholders, the Fund +, Qbic II and Noshaq funds, the du Monceau family and François Blondel notably participated in the capital increase.
Marc Foidart, Executive Chairman of EyeD Pharma, commented: «This new round of financing, with the exception of listed companies, is the third largest round of financing in the life sciences sector this year after Agomab (Ghent) and MiDiagnostics (Leuven) in Belgium and the largest in Wallonia. Above all, it gives us the necessary means to conduct our first clinical study in humans and a solid Belgian shareholder base to plan our next development steps».
Melanie Mestdagt (CEO) said: «What is remarkable about this round of financing is the subscription of major Belgian families and big names who are very active in life sciences. This recognition goes beyond the financial aspect; it is also a reward and a great honour for the entire EyeD team to have the confidence of these investors whose expertise goes far beyond our borders. This project is above all the success of an entire team of our employees, our referring physicians and our shareholders and board members. We should also remember the importance of the support provided by the DG06 teams who have guided and supported us since the beginning of the project».
And Chris Buyse, Managing Partner of Fund + added: «Fund+ is a long-standing partner of EyeD Parma and we are proud to participate in this second round of funding. It was important for us to confirm our support and confidence in this project that creates jobs and value in Belgium».
And Baudouin Jolly concludes: «As family shareholders with a long-term vision, we are delighted, with SRIW and SFPI, to once again support a project of the Foidart Family, after having invested alongside it in Uteron Pharma, which was very successful. As soon as Melanie and Marc told us about the EyeD Pharma project, and the factory that will develop and manufacture a range of innovative micro-implants for the controlled release of drugs, we did not hesitate for a moment to join them, given the relationship of trust that we have built up over many years now».
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