The investment supports the clinical development of two novel programs, both with the aim of being protective against vision loss.
The RD Fund (Retinal Degeneration Fund) – the venture arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness aimed at rapidly driving research toward preventions, treatments, and cures for the spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases – unveiled an equity investment in Perceive Biotherapeutics (Perceive Bio), a biotechnology company developing novel treatments, leading with a gene therapy candidate for dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) including the advanced form, geographic atrophy (GA).
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older, affecting more than 150 million people worldwide and 10 million people in the US.
According to a news release, Perceive Bio has raised $78 million for its Series B financing led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC), joining existing Series A investor Deerfield Management and new investors Braidwell LP and Catalio Capital Management, LP, in addition to the RD Fund.
The company noted that its emerging gene therapy which relates to risk alleles for dry AMD and GA, targets regulation of the complement system, a part of the innate immune system.
According to the news release, the treatment will be delivered by a one-time intravitreal injection and is designed to work for many years.
Perceive Bio is also developing novel therapies in neuroprotection, with applications in glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.