Acousia, a Tübingen/Germany-based leader in the discovery and development of novel therapies in inner ear-related diseases and pathologies, has just secured €10 million in a Series B funding round led by Creathor Ventures. Acousia plans to use the fresh capital for the further pre-clinical and early- to mid-stage clinical development of its drug candidates.
Founded in 2012, the biotechnology company has developed drug candidates that will protect, repair and restore sensory hair cell function in patients suffering from hearing loss, caused by ototoxic drugs, normal aging process, noise and other conditions like sudden deafness.
Hearing impairment, which affects an estimated 10-15% of those in the developed world, is predominantly caused by the irreversible loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. Agerelated hearing loss is the most prevalent form of impairment, but other causes include noise trauma, treatment with ototoxic therapies – like chemotherapy medication, cisplatin – various infectious diseases and ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Traditional approaches to repairing hearing loss centre around prosthetics (i.e. hearing aid devices). Acousia however develops drug candidates, based on small molecules for the protection, repair and restoration of inner sensory cell function. The company’s most advanced drug candidate ACOU085 is being developed for clinical application in otoprotection (cisplatin-related) and will be profiled in functional improvement of hair cells.
Dr. Christoph Antz, CEO of Acousia said: “This investment will enable us to advance the development of our small molecules-based drug candidates. Further preclinical and clinical studies will enhance our drugs’ profile for the improvement of sensory hair cell responsiveness. This might benefit patients suffering from chronic hearing loss due to ototoxic substances or conditions like noise or age.”
Karlheinz Schmelig, Managing Partner at Creathor Ventures, commented: “With Acousia’s translational approach, its experienced team and the productive setting within the University ENT clinic of Tübingen, Acousia is best positioned to develop first-in-class drugs against inner ear diseases and associated pathologies. In addition, the new investor syndicate with LBBW Ventures and Bregua Corporation is well-known to us, for example from our common successful investment in Phenex Pharmaceuticals.”