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Planet Innovation-backed company, Visus Therapeutics, raises US$36 million

Roger LangsdonMarketing Director

Planet Innovation’s (PI) business model has been proven a success with another of our investee companies – ophthalmic therapies biotech Visus Therapeutics™ – raising US$36 (A$47) million in Series A financing.

Visus is the second PI related company to raise capital recently, following Lumos Diagnostics’ raise of A$25 million in October 2020. In December, PI itself raised A$10million, bringing the total capital raised across the PI group to ~A$82 million within four months.

PI co-CEO and co-founder Sam Lanyon said: “The success of our model starts with our practical understanding of healthcare market opportunities coupled with our deep execution capability which leads to accelerated commercial outcomes. We make swift investment decisions, fire up our execution engine and bring all the elements that are required to commercialize a healthtech product: people, capability, infrastructure and our extensive partner network. Throughout, we remain committed to the success of the businesses.”

Visus is a clinical-stage company in pursuit of developing the world’s first presbyopia-correcting eye drop with the potential to last a minimum of eight hours – reducing the need for reading glasses or contact lenses. Visus was created in 2019 to commercialize intellectual property (IP) acquired as part of the merger of PI spin-out company Lumos Diagnostics and RPS Diagnostics.

Sam said: “As part of our strategic planning around the Lumos merger, we became really excited about the commercial potential of the Visus-related IP portfolio. With almost all adults over the age of 50 suffering from the loss of near vision associated with aging, Visus addressed a valid and unmet market need in the eye care segment. We helped assemble an A-team to focus on the development and commercialization of Visus’s lead asset BRIMOCHOL™, a potentially transformational daily eye drop that could restore the near vision of millions of adults globally.”

Since its founding, PI has supported Visus through people and capital. Visus CEO, Ben Bergo, previously worked at PI as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, while Sam Lanyon, sits on the Visus board. After a series of capital raises, PI maintains a significant ownership position in Visus.

Investors that participated in Visus’s Series A funding round include Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., RTW Investments, LP., Wille AG and Vision Group Canada, as well as existing shareholders such as PI. Proceeds from the Series A will be used to advance the clinical development program for BRIMOCHOL™, an investigational drug designed to be a once-daily eye drop to correct for the loss of near vision associated with presbyopia.

In another milestone for Visus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just accepted its Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to proceed with the clinical development program for BRIMOCHOL™. Under this IND, Visus will initiate its planned Phase 2 clinical trial in the U.S. immediately.

Ben Bergo, co-founder and CEO of Visus, said: “The FDA’s acceptance of the IND for BRIMOCHOL represents an important step forward for Visus Therapeutics and, more importantly, for the estimated 123 million U.S. adults living with presbyopia. We are excited to begin dosing patients in the Phase 2 clinical study, which we believe will validate BRIMOCHOL as a well-tolerated solution that meets patients’ desire for a long-lasting near vision treatment option.”

Over its lifetime, PI has raised ~A$150 million external capital across the group for both PI and our ventures. Overall, PI’s direct investment into ventures and partners, specifically Lumos Diagnostics, Visus Therapeutics, Atmo Biosciences and Zen Ecosystems, is ~A$60 million.

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Roger Langsdon Marketing Director

Roger is the Marketing Director at Planet Innovation and a specialist marketing and communications professional with a focus on growing an organization’s reputation and revenue through strategic marketing and high-impact communications.

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