Ray Therapeutics closes $6M seed financing to advance novel optogenetics platform to treat blinding diseases

Top-tier advanced therapies investor 4BIO Capital led the financing round

The financing will be used to advance its lead optogenetics gene therapy Ray-001 into clinical trials for retinitis pigmentosa.

San Diego, CA – January 4, 2022 – Ray Therapeutics, a biotech company developing optogenetic gene therapies for patients with blinding diseases, today announced the closing of a $6M seed financing round, led by 4BIO Capital.

The funding will be used to advance its optogenetic therapy, Ray-001, into clinical trials in retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Based on the durability of treatment demonstrated in preclinical studies, Ray-001 is intended to be a one-time treatment via intravitreal injection that is sustainable for a lifetime. Unlike current RP gene therapies in development, which are targeted to specific genetic mutations or individuals with remaining photoreceptors that only address a small patient population, Ray-001 is mutation-independent.

Optogenetics is a promising approach that has the potential to restore useful vision to visually-impaired and blind individuals. In RP, a patient’s photoreceptors, the primary cells required for vision, are lost and cannot regenerate. However, inner retinal neurons downstream to photoreceptors, especially retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), persist in significant numbers even in late-stage disease. Ray Therapeutics’ lead candidate Ray-001 uses an intravitreal approach where it diffuses from the vitreous into the retina and transduces primarily the RGCs.

“We’re excited to invest in Ray Therapeutics, which is developing a ground-breaking new approach to treat inherited retinal diseases using the power of optogenetics,” Dmitry Kuzmin, Managing Partner, 4BIO Capital. “Ray’s experienced management team have a successful track record in developing regenerative medicines in ophthalmology indications including optogenetic therapies. As a mutation-independent approach, Ray-001 has a significant advantage in that it can potentially treat more patients as a one-time intravitreal injection that will last for a lifetime.”

“This seed financing round led by top-tier advanced therapies investor 4BIO Capital, enables us to advance our optogenetic gene therapy platform, pipeline and people,” said Paul Bresge, CEO & Co-Founder, Ray Therapeutics. “I’m thrilled to be leading a team to develop our optogenetic gene therapy, Ray-001, which could potentially restore vision for patients with blinding diseases, beginning with retinitis pigmentosa, an area of significant unmet medical need.”

About Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP), is a heterogeneous group of genetic diseases that cause retinal degeneration leading to near or complete blindness for most patients. The severe loss of photoreceptor cells that occurs in this genetic degenerative disease leads to partial or complete blindness. At present, no effective treatment is available to restore vision once the photoreceptor cells have been lost. Over 100 genetic mutations are known to cause RP and all types of inheritance patterns are recognized. Patients are typically diagnosed in their late teens, with symptoms including night blindness, reduced visual fields and eventual loss of visual acuity. As the disease progresses, retinal atrophy, and permanent loss of the light sensitive photoreceptors occur. The prevalence of RP is approximately 100,000 persons affected in the US.

About Ray Therapeutics

Ray Therapeutics is developing novel optogenetics gene therapies for patients with blinding diseases. The company is developing its lead candidate Ray-001 in retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease with significant unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to use optogenetics to restore vision, independent of genetic mutation for patients with inherited retinal diseases. Ray Therapeutics is based in San Diego, CA. For additional information, please visit www.raytherapeutics.com.

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