Rinri Therapeutics, a Sheffield, UK-based biotechnology company said to be developing a cell-based therapy to restore hearing, announced that it successfully secured £1.4 million ($1.78 million USD) in seed funding. The financing, which was co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and UCB Ventures and joined by BioCity, will support the ongoing growth of the company. 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, a spin-out of Sheffield University, is based on the work of Professor Marcelo Rivolta, a leader in the field of sensory stem cell biology. Rinri’s underlying technology, based on innovative stem cell research, seeks to reverse neuropathic sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) through the repair of the damaged cytoarchitecture in the inner ear. SNHL happens when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlear and/or the auditory nerve. There are currently no pharmacological treatments available for SNHL despite the rapid increase in the number of patients that suffer from this condition globally.
In parallel with the financing, Rinri has appointed Dr Simon Chandler as CEO. 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 spin-outs.
“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 realization of an effective treatment for the many patients with SNHL,” said Chandler.
“We have known Marcelo and followed his groundbreaking research, which was published in Nature, for many years, and are pleased to contribute to the creation of Rinri,” said Mennerich. “If the impressive preclinical in-vivo regeneration data translate into 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 realize the technology’s potential.”