Eyestem, a Bengaluru-based cell therapy company, has raised $6.4 million (Rs 51 crore) in a Series A round led by three pharma major–Biological E Limited (BE), Alkem, NATCO, and Anurag and Karan Bagaria, promoters of Kemwell Biopharma.
Existing investors Endiya Partners and Kotak Private Equity also participated in this round, valuing Eyestem at $46.4 million (Rs 371 crore) post money.
Dr Jogin Desai, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Eyestem said, “We started Eyestem with the sole purpose of being able to create cell therapy products at scale for diseases that devastate a large number of people in India and the world. The support of major Indian pharma companies who share our vision endorses our strategy of developing affordable innovation for patients worldwide. Post this funding, we will remain focussed on solidifying our cell therapy platform and moving our flagship product for Dry AMD through early clinical trials of an international standard.”
Eyecyte-RPE, the company’s patented flagship product, is an experimental treatment for Dry Age-related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD) and the company has other products in the pipeline for the treatment of incurable diseases affecting humanity. EyeCyte-RPE replaces damaged retinal pigment epithelium cells and is designed to restore sight for patients in early stages of Macular Degeneration or arrest loss of vision for those in later stages. The product is allogenic, administered by a surgical procedure and is patented in India and abroad. The company intends to file for a first in human trial for the product within a year in consultation with CDSCO and US FDA.
Rajeev Nannapaneni, CEO, NATCO Pharma Limited, said, “We are very happy to be associated with Eyestem for its innovative work that services unmet needs of patients that have high impact for quality of life”.
Dr Ramesh Byrapaneni, Managing Partner of Endiya Partners said, “Endiya partners is delighted to back such strong, globally competitive innovative startups and participate in the current funding round. The addition of leading pharma and biotech investors on our cap table is a great validation of the world class science that Eyestem is pursuing, which can change millions of lives globally.”
Founded in 2016 by an experienced team of clinical research, regenerative medicine and ophthalmology experts, Eyestem is advised by a board and has built collaborations with other leaders in related scientific disciplines in India, the UK, Japan, and the United States. The long-term vision is to develop a scalable cell therapy platform to treat incurable diseases and democratize access to these newer technologies globally.