Neuropathic sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is estimated to affect 64 million patients in the US, and 34 million in Europe, and there are currently no pharmacological treatments available for the condition.
A spin-out of Sheffield University, Rinri Therapeutics is a biotech company developing advanced stem cell-based therapeutics to restore hearing in SNHL patients by repairing the damaged cellular architecture of the inner ear.
Founded in late 2018, Rinri has now raised €1.6 million in seed funding, in a round co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and UCB Ventures with support from BioCity. In connection with the financing, Detlev Mennerich, PhD, Investment Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund; Erica Whittaker, PhD, Head of UCB Ventures; and Claire Brown, PhD, Investment Director at BioCity have joined Rinri’s Board of Directors.
Rinri is based on the pioneering work of Professor Marcelo Rivolta, a world leader in the field of sensory stem cell biology. Rinri’s technology is based on innovative stem cell research, and seeks to reverse SNHL through the repair of damage to the inner ear, which occurs when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve.
In parallel with the financing, Rinri has appointed Dr Simon Chandler as CEO. Dr Chandler has a PhD in Molecular Biology, and following commercial roles in the biotechnology industry, spent the past four years at IP Group, where he was responsible for early stage investments and company-building for UK university life science spinouts.
“I am delighted that the Board has asked me to guide Rinri as we work to transition our exciting preclinical program into the clinic, and to move closer to the realisation of an effective treatment for the many patients with SNHL,” said Dr Chandler, CEO of Rinri Therapeutics.
“We have known Marcelo and followed his ground-breaking research, which was published in Nature, for many years, and are pleased to contribute to the creation of Rinri,” commented Dr Mennerich, Investment Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. “If the impressive pre-clinical in vivo regeneration data translates to humans, the technology has the potential to be a game-changer in the way SNHL is being treated. We look forward to working with Rinri’s team to support its growth and help further realise the technology’s potential.”