Creathor Ventures announced today that it has, together with other investors, invested close to EUR 10 million in a Series B investment round in Acousia Therapeutics GmbH. Acousia is a Tübingen/Germany-based leader in the discovery and development of novel therapies in inner ear-related diseases and pathologies. 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. Age-related 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. 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.”
Karlheinz Schmelig, Managing Partner at Creathor Ventures, comments: “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.”
Acousia was founded in 2012 by the three partners Prof. Hubert Löwenheim (a well-known and highly recognized expert in the field of hearing loss), EMC Microcollections GmbH and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF). Creathor is joined in this financing round by LBBW Ventures, Bregua Corporation and existing backers BIVF and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Acousia plans to use the money raised for the further pre-clinical and early- to mid-stage clinical development of its drug candidates.
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Notes to Editors
About hearing loss
Hearing impairment is the most frequent human sensory deficit, estimated to affect at least 10-15% of the population in the developed countries. It is predominantly caused by the irreversible loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear, after exposure to intensive noise (noise trauma) or treatment with certain drugs such as ototoxic (i.e. damages on the ear or its nerve supply) compounds used for chemotherapy and some antibiotics. In addition, various infectious diseases or the ischemia-reperfusion injury of the inner ear can lead to partial or total hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss, i.e. the progressive and irreversible loss of sensory hair cells over the patients’ life span, represents however by far the most predominant form of hearing loss.
About Creathor Ventures
Creathor Ventures invests in technology-oriented, fast-growing companies in all stages of their development, especially in the fields of Healthtech/Healthcare/Life Sciences and Specialized Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Industry Tech and Enabling Platforms. The regional focus is on Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and the Nordics. From its offices in Bad Homburg (Frankfurt) and Zurich, the team of 17 staff actively supports more than 30 ICT and life science companies in development, growth and internationalization. Creathor Ventures’ management team consists of the Managing Partners Dr Gert Köhler, Karlheinz Schmelig and Cédric Köhler, and the Partners Christian Leikert, Dr Christian Weiss and Christian Weniger. The team has been investing successfully in start-ups for over 30 years and has conducted more than 20 international IPOs during that time. Creathor Ventures currently manages funds of more than EUR 220 million. As the largest investor in its funds, the management underlines its entrepreneurial orientation.For further information, please visit www.creathor.com
Acousia Therapeutics GmbH (Acousia) is a privately held biotech company dedicated to the identification of small molecules for innovative treatments of hearing loss. The company has established a portfolio of innovative cures for sensory hair cell protection and functional restoration with its its lead drug candidate ACOU085 being developed for clinical application in cisplatin-related otoprotection. Founded in 2012 by Prof. Hubert Löwenheim (a well-known and highly recognized expert in the field of hearing loss), EMC microcollections GmbH and BIVF, the Company is based in Tübingen, Germany. Investors in the series A financing in 2016 included Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and Axxam S.p.A.. For more information, please visit www.acousia.com