Dopavision Closes €12 Million Series A Round to Advance Digital Childhood Myopia Therapeutic Through Clinical Trials
– Seventure Partners and Novartis Pharmaceuticals join as new investors
– Transformative treatment for millions of children with myopia
Dopavision, a company pioneering the development of digital therapeutics, today announced the closing of a €12 million Series A financing round. Seventure Partners led the round and was joined by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and the Company´s existing shareholders such as Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Ababax Health, significantly broadening the Company’s shareholder base of leading international life science investors.
Myopia is recognized as a public health concern and is the leading cause of correctable visual impairment, expected to reach a global prevalence of 50% by 2050. The condition manifests as blurring of distant objects due to image focusing in front of the retina instead of falling on the retina, most often caused by excessive elongation of the eyeball during growth. Severe cases are associated with sight-threatening conditions, including glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment, and myopic maculopathy.
Halting disease progression in children and young adults at present is regarded as the most promising intervention approach to prevent severe impairments at a later age. Dopavision´s mission is to support this myopia control strategy by providing transformative treatments and addressing the disease at an early stage, providing medical benefits for later years of life.
The proceeds will be used to fund the clinical development of MyopiaX®, the Company´s lead product in childhood myopia, with the goal to demonstrate its safety and efficacy in clinical studies and advance this innovative treatment to market to improve the lives of millions of myopic children. The breakthrough technology targets children and young adolescents, leveraging a patented, light-based technology that stimulates specific photosensitive cells of the retina, which in turn modulate retinal dopamine, a key neurotransmitter involved in eye growth. The Company has demonstrated proof-of-mechanism in preclinical models and exploratory human studies. MyopiaX® has the potential to become the first digital therapy to control childhood myopia. It is designed to achieve a medical effect while children play exciting games or use educational digital content and can be conveniently integrated into their daily routine. It runs on standard digital devices and is easy to use for children under minimal supervision of their parents.
Moreover, the funding will be dedicated to additional product development activities in order to provide innovative digital treatments for children leveraging games, educational or cognitive training applications, and potentially broaden the Company´s pipeline to new indications. The Company also intends to continue to recruit and build a team of people passionate about using digital innovation to improve the lives of children and adults.
“We are excited that Seventure Partners and Novartis Pharmaceuticals have decided to support Dopavision as new investors in the Series A round,” said Dr. Hamed Bahmani, co-founder and managing director of Dopavision. “The extensive use of smartphones is suspected to worsen childhood myopia but stopping children from using them is unrealistic. Therefore, we have decided to transform the use of digital devices into a beneficial therapeutic activity. Our first-of-its-kind MyopiaX combines ease of use with an exciting user experience that promotes adherence to the therapy with the goal of addressing this serious medical condition already at a young age.”
“Novartis is committed to advancing transformational treatments – including digital therapeutics – to people of all ages living with visual impairment,” said Jill Hopkins, Global Development Head, Ophthalmology, Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
“Dopavision is pursuing a unique digital therapeutic approach to achieve a significant clinical benefit,” said Isabelle de Cremoux, CEO and Managing Partner of Seventure Partners. “This is the first real digital therapeutic for childhood myopia – a non-invasive, patient-friendly approach that will not only transform the global ophthalmology market, but also provide a breakthrough for affected children by improving their sight and quality of life from an early age onwards. Moreover, the technology has great potential for other disease indications as dopamine plays a key role in many physiological processes. Dopavision therefore excellently fits into our strategic commitment to develop groundbreaking digital health solutions.”
To reflect the new shareholder structure, Dr. Annegret de Baey-Diepolder of Seventure Partners will join Dopavision´s Advisory Board.
Dopavision is pioneering the development of digital therapeutics. As its lead product, the Company is developing a game-changing therapeutic for childhood myopia which can be seamlessly and invisibly integrated into the use of a smartphone. Myopia, or shortsightedness, is a visual condition that affects on average every third person globally, a share that has increased rapidly during the last two decades. It has grown to alarming proportions in Asia where prevalence rates, e.g. in Singapore, have reached 80% among young adults. High childhood myopia imposes a significant risk to cause visual impairment and even blindness later in life. Dopavision´s goal is to develop a clinically validated therapy to halt myopia progression in children and adolescents.
Founded in 2017 by Hamed Bahmani, Dopavision has so far raised €14.7 million in private equity and public grants and is backed by top-tier international investors such as Seventure Partners, Novartis Pharma and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. Dopavision is supported by the German government via the “Industrie-in-Klinik” program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF (Aktionsfeld “Gesundheitswirtschaft im Rahmenprogramm Gesundheitsforschung”, Förderkennzeichen/contract number 13GW0256).
About Seventure Partners
With €850m net commitments under management as of the end of 2020, Seventure Partners is a leading venture capital firm in Europe. Since 1997, Seventure has been investing in innovative businesses with high growth potential in two fields: Life sciences across Europe, Israel, Asia and North America, and Digital technologies in France and Northern Europe.
In life sciences, the main areas of focus include “classic” approaches such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, diagnostic and medtech, industrial biotechnology, as well as “beyond the pill” approaches such as microbiome-linked innovations, nutrition, foodtech, digital/connected health, wellbeing and personalized medicine & personalized nutrition.
Investments can range between €500k and €10m per round, or up to €20m per company, from early to late stage, growth & pre-IPO. Seventure successfully launched Health for Life Capital™ which invests in life sciences (health, nutrition, digital/connected health…) with a core focus on the microbiome revolution and its applications in human health, nutrition and food.
In March 2018, Seventure launched AVF, a new fund dedicated to animal nutrition, feed and health with Adisseo as a strategic partner. In July 2019, it launched Sport & Performance Capital, dedicated to innovations in sport & wellness. The €160m first Health For Life Capital™ fund launched in 2014 has invested in 20 companies at the forefront of their fields, such as Enterome, Vedanta Biosciences, MaaT Pharma, Eligo Bioscience, Ysopia Bioscience, TargEDys, A-Mansia Biotech, BiomX, Microbiotica, LiMM Therapeutics, Siolta Therapeutics, DayTwo, Zipongo (renamed Foodsmart), Cambrooke, Mdoloris Medical Systems, MycoTechnology, etc. In January 2019 it launched the second fund Health for Life Capital II™, now over €250m, which invested in Axial Therapeutics, BCD Biosciences, Citryll, Cytoki, Ervaccine, Federation Bio, Galecto etc.
Both the first fund and second Health For Life Capital™ fund attracted strategic investments from prestigious organizations including Danone, Novartis, two US-based global food ingredient providers (to be disclosed), Lesaffre, Tornier, Tereos, Unigrains and Bel, as well as financial institutions, family offices and entrepreneurs.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
Operating as a separate legal entity, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) drives innovation through its strategic investments in early-stage science and technology. With an investment volume of 300 million Euro, the Venture Fund invests in biotech and start-up companies with innovative concepts and technologies that have the potential to provide ground-breaking platforms. BIVF currently holds a portfolio of more than 30 companies and creates companies when it identifies promising research projects in university and academia. BIVF’s interest in young, mainly technology-oriented companies demonstrates its commitment to investigate new ideas and new science to create options for Boehringer Ingelheim to expand into new approaches and businesses in the field of Oncology, Regenerative Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Digital Health.
About Ababax Health
Ababax Health is a Digital Health technology company dedicated to developing Digital Drugs that enable tailored, non-invasive digital interventions to unlock and advance mental and physical health. Ababax pools Software-as-a-Drug competencies by uniting multidisciplinary scientists and technology experts to shape the future of medicine. The Ababax founders, Dr. Markus Müschenich and Christian Lautner, have been Founding Investors at Dopavision since 2017.