RENE.LON announced that it has raised (GBP) £4.7 M (before expenses), from existing and new institutional shareholders issuing/selling 94,400,000 new shares. The 1st closing for 16,800,000 is expected on 3/18/10 and the 2nd closing for 77,600,000 is expected on 3/19/10. The net proceeds will provide RQE.L to satisfy its burn rate for at least the next 12 months. The net proceeds will further the Phase I trial ReN001, a stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients, pre-clinical testing of ReN009 therapy for peripheral arterial disease and optimization/scale-up of the 2nd generation CTX stem cell line as well as providing for general working capital purposes.
ReNeuron’s (2/18/10) ongoing US collaboration with the Schepens Eye Research Institute (at Harvard Medical School) will benefit from a grant to advance retinal research at Schepens (from a US healthcare firm).
- The funding will be directed towards the 1st phase of a 2 year program to take human retinal progenitor cells (hRPCs) towards the clinic in the US, initially as a candidate cell-based therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. ReNeuron has designated the first retinal candidate as ReN003,
- Reportedly, the 1st phase of the program is expected to involve studies to demonstrate functional improvement of vision after grafting of hRPCs in ophthalmic disease models. Systemic approaches to optimize the yield of hRPCs in culture will also be carried out in this next phase of the collaboration, ahead of future GMP manufacture of the cells,
- Earlier, the researchers at Schepens had published 2 papers in the journals Experimental Eye Research and Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, describing the growth kinetics and molecular characterization of hRPCs developed under the collaboration with RENE and their ability to differentiate along the photoreceptor lineage, both in-vitro and in-vivo,
- Retinitis pigmentosa is the initial target disease in RENE’s collaboration with Schepens, the hRPCs developed in the program should become cell therapy candidates for other blindness-causing diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.