Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc., a leader in the development of innovative gene therapies for serious eye diseases such as wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), today announced the successful completion of $55 million in Series B funding. New investors were led by Venrock, including Deerfield, Adage Capital Management, Redmile Group, Rock Springs Capital, Sabby Capital, as well as a Cowen & Company affiliate and two unrecognized blue-chip health care funds; Cowen & Company acted as sole investment agent for the financing of the company.
Bong Koh, M- D. D. Venrock’s partner said, ‘We believe Avalanche’s proprietary approach to gene therapy is promising to meet unmet medical needs for patients with wet AMD and other retinal disorders that may lead to vision loss. We are pleased to join an outstanding group of new and existing investors in supporting this experienced management team to further the clinical development and commercialization of one-time transformative gene therapy to help people with serious eye diseases. ”
The Series B funding round will be used to advance the company’s clinical programs for retinal disorders, including Avalanche’s lead product, AVA-101, for wet AMD. In addition, the company will invest in manufacturing and clinical infrastructure for the lead program and accelerate the development of pipeline programs based on Avalanche’s proprietary BioFactoryTM platform.
‘Gen therapy has come a long way over the last few years to realize its potential as a powerful treatment modality,’ said Mark S. M, Blumenkranz. D. D. H, H, J. J. Smead Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University Dr. Blumenkranz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Avalanche, said, “Chronic wet AMD management is a major issue for patients and one of the most significant treatment challenges for ophthalmology. The Avalanche approach is an elegant solution that addresses this major unmet need. ”
‘This is an exciting time for Avalanche. We’re thrilled to be working with Venrock and to have such high-quality investors join the team. This funding will fuel significant advances in our technology and in the field of gene therapy in ophthalmology,” said Thomas Chalberg, Ph.D. D. D. , Co-Founder and CEO of Avalanche ‘With the Ocular BioFactoryTM, we are working to create a new class of biologics and we urgently need to develop these medicines for patients suffering from blinding diseases. ”
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in adults over 50 years of age in developed countries. In the advanced form of AMD, called exudative or ‘wet’ AMD, new blood vessels form beneath the retina, causing an accumulation of blood and fluid and a rapid loss of vision. Approximately 200,000 Americans develop wet AMD each year, with the number expected to double by 2020. According to the National Alliance for Research in the Eye and Vision, more than 1 Currently, 8 million Americans have advanced AMD, and this number is expected to grow to 3 million by 2020. Another seven 3 million Americans currently have AMD on the intermediate stage
About Avalanche Biotechnology, Inc.
Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc. was founded in 2006. , is a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnological company that develops technologies and products for the sustained delivery of therapeutic proteins. The lead product of Avalanche, AVA-101, is currently under development in a Phase 2a trial for wet age-related macular degeneration. Avalanche’s BioFactoryTM platform technology is a proprietary adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy discovery and development technology optimized for ophthalmology that uses a targeted evolutionary approach to generate novel drug candidates. The company is located in Menlo Park, California. For more information, please visit