Invizius Announces Successful Series A to Develop Anti-Inflammatory Treatment for Haemodialysis

Downing Ventures portfolio company, Invizius Limited (“Invizius”), a biotechnology company developing treatments to suppress unwanted innate immune responses, today announces that it has closed Series A financing of £5.3 million. The financing was led by existing investors Downing Ventures, Mercia, Old College Capital, Scottish Enterprise, Solvay Ventures and new investors Calculus Capital and experienced life science entrepreneur and investor, Dr Jonathan Milner. Although already over-subscribed, the company’s Series A remains open to other investors until June 2021.

Invizius will use the financing to complete a First-in-Man safety study in 2022 of its H-Guard® Priming Solution to reduce the life-threatening inflammatory effects of haemodialysis.

There are currently 3.3 million haemodialysis patients worldwide who receive treatment multiple times a week. This number was set to increase by 6% year on year before the onset of COVID-19, however the increase in patients will now likely be higher given the long-term damage that the virus can wreak on patients’ kidneys. For particularly ill patients with COVID-19, the virus can cause acute kidney failure which can eventually turn into chronic kidney failure – with the only treatment options being either lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The H-Guard® Priming Solution comprises a novel protein that lines the inside of the dialysis filter and helps dialysis to take place undetected by the body’s immune system. This suppresses the blood’s foreign body response, thereby preventing a repetitive, hostile inflammatory reaction that increases the risk of cardiovascular complications. The technology may also be used with other devices or treatments such as CRRT, ECMO, cardiopulmonary bypass, organ transplants and immunomodulating therapeutics.

Preparations are already well-underway to complete the First-in-Man safety study. Invizius has developed the protein manufacturing process with high confidence in purity and yield targets and has received promising preliminary results from ex-vivo testing in human blood at University Medical Centre Groningen a leading European renal research centre. Invizius has established the regulatory pathway in North America and the potential for coincident approval in Europe.

Richard Boyd, Chief Executive Officer of Invizius, said: “We are very pleased with the continued support of our existing investors and delighted to attract two new high calibre investors.  There is a global healthcare need and significant commercial opportunity for the proprietary H-Guard® Priming Solution treatment which has the potential to improve quality of life and safety of patients on dialysis with kidney failure. Dialysis treatment can reduce life expectancy by two thirds and almost half of patients die from cardiovascular complications. We are initially targeting patients with high innate immune response to dialysis, a worldwide market estimated to be worth over £1.5 billion.”

Professor Peter Mathieson, previously 19 years as a consultant nephrologist in the NHS and Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “Invizius has been founded on world-class research carried out at the University of Edinburgh by the company’s CTO, Dr Andy Herbert, and backed by an excellent management team and high calibre investors. The H-Guard priming solution could revolutionize kidney dialysis, it has the potential to significantly reduce inflammation and its associated complications. I am very excited to see the company progress and bring this product to market.”

Will Brooks, Investment Director at Downing Ventures further comments: “Downing is very happy to continue to support and help the growth and development of Invizius. With its proprietary H-Guard® technology we foresee the company becoming a world leader in the dialysis safety market and to transform care on dialysis, and other extra-corporeal treatments,” comments 

Ends 

About Invizius

Invizius Limited is a late pre-clinical-stage biotechnology company developing treatments to suppress unwanted innate immune responses, focused initially on reducing the life-threatening inflammatory effects of dialysis. Founded in 2017, the University of Edinburgh spin-out is developing its proprietary H-Guard® Priming Solution, comprising a novel protein that lines the inside of the dialysis filter and helps dialysis to take place undetected by the body’s immune system. This suppresses the blood’s foreign body response, thereby preventing a hostile inflammatory reaction.

The company is looking to expand its product pipeline into other, high-value indications.

For more information on Invizius, please visit: www.invizius.com

New investors

About Calculus Capital

Calculus is a multi-award-winning fund manager. It launched the UK’s first approved EIS fund in 1999 and has a 22-year track record of investing in UK companies, supporting their growth, development, scale-up and exit. It manages the multi-sector Calculus EIS Fund and Calculus VCT, as well as the Calculus Creative Content EIS Fund, which was launched in association with the BFI to deliver vital equity funding to the UK’s most promising creative content companies.

Calculus Capital is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. www.calculuscapital.com

About Dr Jonathan Milner

Founder of Abcam plc, Jonathan is an entrepreneur and investor passionate about supporting UK life science and high-tech start-ups. He has provided investment and support to over 50 companies and has assisted three technology companies to IPO on the London AIM Stock exchange.

Jonathan gained his doctorate in Molecular Genetics at Leicester University after graduating in Applied Biology at Bath. From 1992–95, he was a post-doctoral researcher at Bath, following which he worked at the University of Cambridge in the lab of Professor Tony Kouzarides researching the molecular basis of breast cancer. He identified the market opportunity for supplying high-quality antibodies to support protein interaction studies, and in 1998, founded Abcam with Dr David Cleevely and Professor Tony Kouzarides.

Jonathan is also a non-executive director, investor and advisor to Start Codon, HealX, Shift Bioscience, Phoremost and Syndicate Room. He is also Chairman of Axol Bioscience and  CamAllergy.

In 2015 Jonathan, with Professor Tony Kouzarides, co-founded the Milner Therapeutics Institute at the University of Cambridge. Also in 2015 he co-founded, with Professor Laurence Hurst, the Milner Institute for Evolution at the University of Bath.

Jonathan’s investments are managed by Meltwind Advisory LLP.

Existing investors

About Downing Ventures

Downing Ventures invests in innovative technology companies and pioneering founders across the globe with Early to Growth Stage funding across the Deep Tech, Enterprise and Healthcare sectors. The Downing Ventures team spans the UK, USA and Israel giving our portfolio a global perspective and expertise. The team are scientists, engineers, founders, visionary thinkers and story tellers. We have a portfolio of 71 companies as at September 2020. To find out more, visit www.downingventures.com

About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group's 'Complete Connected Capital'. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

The Group has a strong UK footprint through its regional offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£872million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested c.£106million gross into its direct investment portfolio.

The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic "MERC" and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries - 

  • Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
  • Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
  • EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560

www.mercia.co.uk

About Old College Capital

Old College Capital (OCC) is the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund. We aim to support the University’s research, staff and students by investing in high-growth, early stage businesses associated with the University.

Contact Andrea Young, Fund Manager.

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.  

About Solvay

Solvay Ventures is the Venture Capital fund of Solvay. Solvay Ventures invests in breakthrough technologies in advanced materials, devices and business model innovation. Operating since 2005, Solvay Ventures is currently investing out of a €80 million global evergreen fund and targets early stage investment opportunities (Seed through Series B). Beyond capital, Solvay Ventures looks to leverage the resources at Solvay to help accelerate technology and market adoption.

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. With more than 23,000 employees in 64 countries, Solvay bonds people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group seeks to create sustainable shared value for all, notably through its Solvay One Planet roadmap crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering a better life. The Group’s innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. Founded in 1863, Solvay today ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities and delivered net sales of €9 billion in 2020. Solvay is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris (SOLB), and in the United States, where its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a Level I ADR program. Learn more at www.solvay.com.



Date published:

06 May 2021

Practice area:

Healthcare