Acousia Therapeutics (Acousia), a Germany-based biotech that develops therapies for inner ear-related diseases and pathologies, announced the closing of a €10 million (USD $11.8 million) Series B financing round to advance its pipeline of preclinical drug candidates into clinical stage.
The financing was led by new investor LBBW Venture Capital, and joined by other new investors, Creathor Ventures and Bregua Corporation. Existing investors, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) also participated in the round.
Traditional approaches to repairing hearing loss have centered around prosthetics (ie, hearing aid devices), according to the company’s press release. Acousia, however, is said to develop 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.
“This investment will enable us to advance the development of our small, molecules-based drug candidates,” said Dr Christoph Antz, CEO of Acousia. “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. We look very much forward to working with this team of experienced life science investors.”
Dr Michael Bös, CSO of Acousia, added, “The medical need for hearing impairment treatment is tremendous, and we expect it to further increase dramatically over the next decades, mainly due to the demographic shift, leading to more age-related hearing loss.”
“The Acousia team has developed an impressive portfolio of small molecule drug candidates with a unique mode of action,” said Dr Harald Poth, senior investment manager at LBBW. “Working with Acousia in developing therapies for both otoprotection and functional improvement of hair cells, we can see great potential to offer a wide range of solutions for patients.”
Dr Frank Kalkbrenner, chairman of the board of Acousia and director of BIVF, said, “With the investment of this round we will be in a position to quickly advance the drug candidates to mid-stage clinical phase and further the development of innovative therapies for protection against hearing loss.”