A Midlands regenerative medicine company has secured a £1.4m investment to fund clinical trials on its new cutting-edge treatment for dry eye disease.
The funding for NuVision Biotherapies Ltd comes in part from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund; Mercia’s own funds; and investment from the University of Nottingham and BioCity. It will also allow the company to fund additional research and development and expand its sales and marketing team, creating six new jobs.
NuVision’s therapy, Omnigen, is based on research carried out at the University of Nottingham by Dr Andrew Hopkinson. It harnesses the regenerative properties of amniotic membrane which surrounds babies in the womb and is normally discarded at birth. The company, which was founded in 2015 with funding from Mercia and the University, has also developed a bespoke contact lens product, OmniLenz®, that allows Omnigen to be applied in a five-minute procedure in outpatient clinics, eliminating the need for surgery and sutures. Trials are taking place at Aston University.
NuVision has established fully licensed clinical grade manufacturing facilities at its premises in Nottingham’s MediCity, where it currently employs 16 people. The company, which initially focused on treating eye conditions, is now also expanding into wound treatment and has made sales to the NHS and internationally.
Dr Andrew Hopkinson, the CEO, said: ‘We are delighted to have the support of Mercia and the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This exciting stage of growth will be transformative for NuVision, helping to deliver our product Omnigen as a routine therapy for ‘in clinic’ treatment of eye conditions such as dry eye disease, whilst establishing the company as an international regenerative medicine specialist.“
Isabel Dodd, Investment Manager at Mercia, said: “NuVision has made significant progress since its inception. This new investment will help to demonstrate the benefits of its product for eye conditions, while the investment in research and development will help it to develop treatments for other conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers, allowing millions of other people worldwide to benefit from this new therapy.”
Dr Susan Huxtable, Director of Technology Transfer at the University of Nottingham, said: “It is really pleasing to see the continued growth and development of University of Nottingham spin-out, NuVision. We are delighted to make this investment, alongside MEIF, Mercia and BioCity, which will help realise the benefits of Omnigen® for many more patients.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at the British Business Bank, said: “This deal is a great example of how finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund can be used alongside other investors, allowing NuVision to launch clinical trials, create jobs and also continue researching new treatments.”
Sajeeda Rose, CEO for the D2N2 LEP, said: “We’re delighted to see innovative companies like NuVision continue to attract funding in order to refine and produce products that will have a real impact on the lives of people far beyond our region.
“NuVision has benefited from substantial government investment in recent years, including £2 million from the ERDF via the INSTILLS project, and £740,000 from the Local Growth Fund used to develop MediCity where the company is based. It’s this joined-up approach to sustained funding that results in the best outcomes for businesses both in terms of productivity and innovation.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.