Invizius, the Edinburgh spinout company developing treatments to suppress immune responses caused by dialysis, has raised £5.3 million from investors including Old College Capital. The biotech company will use the investment to complete a first-in-human safety study in 2022 of its H-Guard Priming Solution.
The Series A financing was led by existing investors Mercia, Downing Ventures, Old College Capital, Scottish Investment Bank and Solvay Ventures, and new investors Calculus Capital and Meltwind. Old College Capital is the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture fund, managed by Edinburgh Innovations.
Invizius was founded with EI’s support in 2018, based on research by Dr Andy Herbert and his team in the University’s School of Chemistry.
“Invizius has been founded on world-class research carried out at the University of Edinburgh by the company’s CTO, Dr Andy Herbert, and backed by an excellent management team and high calibre investors.
“The H-Guard priming solution could revolutionize kidney dialysis – it has the potential to significantly reduce inflammation and its associated complications. I am very excited to see the company progress and bring this product to market.”
– Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal, University of Edinburgh, who has previously worked for 19 years as a consultant nephrologist in the NHS.
There are currently three million dialysis patients worldwide who receive treatment multiple times a week. This number was set to increase by 6% year on year before the onset of COVID-19, and the increase in patients will now likely be higher given the long-term damage that the virus can wreak on patients’ kidneys.
For particularly ill patients with COVID-19, the virus can cause acute kidney failure which can eventually turn into chronic kidney failure – with the only treatment options being either lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.
The H-Guard Priming Solution comprises a novel protein that lines the inside of the dialysis filter and helps dialysis to take place undetected by the body’s immune system. This suppresses the blood’s foreign body response, preventing a repetitive, hostile inflammatory reaction that increases the risk of cardiovascular complications.
The technology may also be used with other devices or treatments such as continuous renal replacement therapy, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, cardiopulmonary bypass, organ transplants and immunomodulating therapeutics.
“We are very pleased with the continued support of our existing investors and delighted to attract two new high calibre investors.
“There is a global healthcare need and significant commercial opportunity for the proprietary H-Guard Priming Solution treatment which has the potential to improve quality of life and safety of patients on dialysis with kidney failure. Dialysis treatment can reduce life expectancy by two thirds and almost half of patients die from cardiovascular complications.
“The worldwide market for H-Guard Priming Solution is estimated to be worth in excess of £1.5 billion.”
– Richard Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of Invizius.
Human safety study
Preparations are under way to complete the first-in-human safety study. Invizius has developed the protein manufacturing process with high confidence in purity and yield targets, and has received promising preliminary results from ex-vivo testing in human blood at University Medical Centre Groningen, a leading European renal research centre. Invizius has established the regulatory pathway in North America and the potential for coincident approval in Europe.
The company’s Series A remains open to other investors until June 2021. It follows a fundraising of £2.75 million in October 2019.