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19 May 2017

ONL Therapeutics eyes $4.25m series A

University of Michigan’s Mints program has contributed to a series A round that also attracted Novartis and state-backed Invest Michigan.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

ONL Therapeutics, a retinal diseases therapy developer spun out of University of Michigan, closed a $4.25m series A round on Wednesday that featured the institution’s Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (Mints) program.

Invest Michigan, a non-profit funded by state-owned investment vehicle Michigan Strategic Fund, also participated, as did pharmaceutical firm Novartis, Capital Community Angels, Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center and Hestia Investments.

The series A round included the conversion of a $1m bridge loan and was announced concurrently with a $1m grant obtained from National Eye Institute.

ONL Therapeutics is working on treatments for eye diseases. The company’s lead candidate, ONL1204, is targeting retinal detachment and has been granted an orphan drug designation by US regulator Food and Drug Administration.

The funding will be used to finalise the preclinical development of ONL1204 and advance the candidate into clinical trials. The spinout also hopes to broaden applications for the candidate to other conditions, such as glaucoma, wet and dry age-related macular degeneration and non-infectious uveitis.

Rafael Castilla, director of investments and structuring at University of Michigan Investment Office and a supervisor of the Mints program, will join the board of directors. Current board member Loic Courard will transition to the role of board observer.

Castilla said: "I am excited and honoured to join ONL's board and work alongside the accomplished and talented individuals that comprise the company's leadership team. 

"This is a pivotal time as the company prepares its lead compound for first-in-human trials and Mints is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this important financing milestone alongside a group of dedicated and strong investors, including Novartis, a recognised leader in ophthalmology."

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