PulseSight Therapeutics Launches to Advance Non-viral Gene Therapies with Disruptive Minimally-Invasive Delivery Technology for Severe Retinal Diseases

28 Feb 2024
Executive ChangeOrphan DrugAcquisitionGene Therapy
Unique proprietary non-viral gene therapy platform with minimally invasive delivery technology providing long lasting gene expression and favorable distribution in the retina. Focus on age-related macular degeneration (AMD)AMD), including wet AMDAMD and late-stage dry AMDAMD/geographic atrophy (GA), a rapidly growing market expected to reach $27.5bn by 2031. A substantially de-risked platform and two first-in-class gene therapies heading to the clinic, having the potential to become future blockbusters. Highly experienced management team and Board of Directors – Judith Greciet, CEO, and Dirk Sauer, ex-Novartis Global Development Unit Head, Ophthalmology, as Independent Chair of the Board. Compelling investment case with a Series A capital raising underway, backed by two ophthalmology experienced venture investors, Pureos Bioventures and ND Capital. PARIS, Feb. 28, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PulseSight Therapeutics SAS, an ophthalmology biotech company developing disruptive non-viral gene therapies with minimally-invasive delivery technology, launches today with seed finance from Pureos Bioventures and ND Capital. It is poised to clinically validate its highly innovative delivery platform by advancing two first-in-class late-stage preclinical drugs for wet and dry age-related macular diseases (AMD)AMD), including geographic atrophy (GA), major diseases of the elderly leading to blindness. PulseSight’s proprietary non-viral gene therapy ocular platform uses an electro-transfection system to deliver DNA plasmids encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle to treat major eye diseases. The technology has already been validated in a first Phase I/II clinical study, demonstrating a good safety pro both the plasmid and the delivery system, as well as a long-lasting clinical benefit up to eight months (in patients with chronic noninfectious uveitis). Current treatments for wet AMDAMD all belong to the same class of drugs that target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and act primarily on the neovessels to reduce vascular leakage, with a limited efficacy over time leading to the need for frequent reinjections. Wet AMDAMD is a complex disease involving many pathological pathways which lead to progressive vision loss and there remains a significant unmet need. The company’s lead program PST-809 is a potential first-in-class therapy for wet AMDAMD that comprises a dual-gene plasmid encoding for a potent anti-VEGF, aflibercept, together with decorin, an anti-angiogenic and anti-fibrotic native protein that reduces choroidal neovascularization (CNV), vascular leakage, and subretinal fibrosis preventing the epithelial mesenchymal transition of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells or even favoring RPE healing. In preclinical studies, PST-809 has shown superior efficacy to intravitreal aflibercept to reduce vascular leakage and to promote RPE wounds healing, indicating its potential to promote disease regression and durably prevent vision loss in patients. In addition to superior efficacy, PST-809 holds the potential to improve compliance by reducing the need for repeated anti-VEGF injections to one injection every six months, alleviating the burden of treatment for this chronic disease. The second program, PST-611, for geographic atrophy (GA) in late-stage dry AMDAMD, uses the same disruptive delivery technology with a plasmid that encodes the human transferrin protein, a natural iron transporter involved in the control of iron levels in the eye. PST-611 holds the potential to effectively address many of complex pathophysiological pathways involved in GA/dry AMDAMD whilst also benefiting from the need for re-treatment only every six months. Preclinical experiments of PST-611 conducted across various disease models show the beneficial effects of transferrin to remove iron, reduce oxidative stress, preserve the integrity of the retinal pigment epithelium, and prevent retinal degeneration and vision loss. In addition to GA, PST-611 has upside for the potential treatment of other neurodegenerative retinal disorders such as glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa, for which PST-611 has been awarded orphan drug designation by the FDA and EMA. The company has been financed with seed investment from leading venture capital investors that both bring significant experience in ophthalmology, with Dominik Escher, PhD, founding partner of Pureos Bioventures, and Kostas Kaloulis, PhD, Venture Partner at ND Capital, joining the board. Dirk Sauer, previously Head of Ophthalmology at Novartis, has joined the board as Independent Chair. During his 30+ years at Novartis, he held various positions of increasing responsibilities within preclinical and clinical research as well as project management. Between 2011 and 2021, he led the company’s Ophthalmology Development Department and, during that time, was responsible for a development portfolio across back and front of the eye indications, including Lucentis. As a successful entrepreneur, Dominik Escher led the development of multiple clinically successful products during his time as CEO of ESBATech prior to its sale to Alcon (Novartis), including for Brolucizumab as a treatment for AMDAMD. Kostas Kaloulis was co-founder and CEO of Arctos Medical, a pioneering gene therapy company addressing blindness, later acquired by Novartis. Francine Behar-Cohen, MD, PhD, an ophthalmic surgeon, researcher and entrepreneur, founder and inventor of the technology, provides ongoing valuable expertise into the programs and is an observer on the board. The company has a highly experienced leadership team led by newly appointed pharma-biotech experienced CEO Judith Greciet, PharmD. She brings over three decades of experience in the pharma and biotech industries, notably as CEO of Onxeo and as President of Eisai France. She joins seasoned and highly skilled professionals specialized in ophthalmology, gene therapy, device and drug development, including Thierry Bordet, PhD as CSO. Dominik Escher, board director of PulseSight and Partner at Pureos Bioventures, said, “Pureos is delighted to partner with ND Capital to launch PulseSight, a company with technology and programs that has the potential to be truly life-changing for patients with diseases leading to sight loss. We have assembled a highly experienced and motivated team, and I welcome Judith who joins as CEO and Dirk as Chairman of the Board. We have all the ingredients to ensure that PulseSight becomes a highly valuable company in the field of non-viral gene therapy in ophthalmology.” Judith Greciet, CEO of PulseSight Therapeutics, said, “I am excited to join the company with a validated and highly differentiating delivery platform and two non-viral gene therapy programs at late preclinical stage. Our proprietary non-viral gene therapy approach provides unique features in terms of efficacy, safety and durability of effect and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with PulseSight Therapeutics’ highly experienced team and board to build the company’s future.” Chairman of PulseSight Therapeutics Dirk Sauer said,“Whilst pharma has embraced the potential of gene therapy in ophthalmology, there remains an unaddressed need for non-viral approaches that would unlock the full potential of gene therapies. I am encouraged by the data behind PulseSight’s approach and its therapies, and I look forward to working with the board and the team to validate its disruptive potential through clinical studies.” Alongside Pureos Bioventures and ND Capital, Korea Investment Partners (KIP) has joined the seed financing round, with its VP Joon Hyun as an observer on the board. PulseSight is currently raising a Series A financing round to advance its programs into clinical proof-of-concept. Media contact Sue Charles, Charles Consultants T: +44 (0)7968 726585, E: sue@charles-consultants.com About age-related macular degeneration (AMDAMD) AMDAMD is a disease with progressive, painless loss of central vision with a strong burden on patients’ everyday life, impacting their ability to read, recognize faces, and see objects and, ultimately, leading to irreversible vision loss in the elderly. AMDAMD is a complex disease due to multiple physio-pathological pathways. After reaching an intermediate stage, AMDAMD can progress to either ‘Wet AMDAMD’ or ‘Dry AMDAMD’, which can then evolve into GA (geographic atrophy), leading to irreversible blindness. In all its forms, AMDAMD represents a compelling unmet need for more effective and durable treatment options, with a large and growing market, estimated to reach $27.5 Billion by 2031. Currently, Roche and NovartisLucentis, Regeneron’s Eylea, and NovartisBeovu are all available for managing wet AMDAMD. But they are not curative and require multiple dosing and monthly monitoring of patients. About PulseSight Therapeutics PulseSight is an ophthalmology drug development company developing disruptive non-viral gene therapies with minimally-invasive delivery technology designed to address the unmet need for treatments against severe retinal diseases leading to blindness, with a focus on age-related macular degeneration (AMD)AMD) including wet AMDAMD and geographic atrophy (GA) in late-stage dry AMDAMD. The lead program PST-809 in wet AMDAMD and the second program PST-611 in dry AMDAMD/GA are at the very late stage of preclinical IND enabling studies and build on over a decade of development of non-viral gene therapies. PulseSight has a unique approach to the administration of disease-modifying genes through its proprietary electro-transfection technology. Already validated in the clinic for safety and delivery, this non-viral delivery platform delivers DNA plasmids encoding therapeutic proteins into the ciliary muscle to safely and sustainably treat major eye diseases. The company’s technology and therapeutic applications are covered by an IP portfolio of 11 patent families, with 90 granted patents. Based in Paris, France, the company’s investors are Pureos Bioventures, ND Capital and Korea Investment Partners (KIP). For more information visit Follow us on LinkedIn –
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