Creathor Ventures Invests In German BioTech Company Acousia To Fight Hearing Loss In 10€ Million Financing Round

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Creathor Ventures announced today that it has, together with other investors, invested close to 10 €million in a Series B investment round in Acousia Therapeutics GmbH. Acousia is a Germany-based leader in the discovery and development of novel therapies in inner ear-related diseases and pathologies. The biotechnology company has developed drug candidates that will protect, repair and restore sensory hair cell function in patients suffering from hearing loss, caused by ototoxic drugs, normal aging process, noise and other conditions like sudden deafness.

Hearing impairment, which affects an estimated 10 – 15% of those in the developed world, is predominantly caused by the irreversible loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. Age-related hearing loss is the most prevalent form of impairment, but other causes include noise trauma, treatment with ototoxic therapies – like chemotherapy medication, cisplatin – various infectious diseases and ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Traditional approaches to repairing hearing loss center around prosthetics (i.e. hearing aid devices). Acousia, however, develops drug candidates, based on small molecules for the protection, repair, and restoration of inner sensory cell function. The company’s most advanced drug candidate ACOU085 is being developed for clinical application in otoprotection (cisplatin-related) and will be profiled in functional improvement of hair cells.

Investment For The Pre-Clinical & Early- To Mid-Stage Clinical Development

Dr. Christoph Antz, CEO of Acousia, said: “This investment will enable us to advance the development of our small molecule-based drug candidates. Further preclinical and clinical studies will enhance our drugs’ profile for the improvement of sensory hair cell responsiveness. This might benefit patients suffering from chronic hearing loss due to ototoxic substances or conditions like noise or age. We look very much forward to working with this team of experienced life science investors.”

Dr. Michael Bös, CSO of Acousia, added: “The medical need for hearing impairment treatment is tremendous, and we expect it to further increase dramatically over the next decades, mainly due to the demographic shift leading to more age-related hearing loss.”

Karlheinz Schmelig, Managing Partner at Creathor Ventures, comments: “With Acousia’s translational approach, its experienced team and the productive setting within the University ENT clinic of Tübingen, Acousia is best positioned to develop first-in-class drugs against inner ear diseases and associated pathologies. In addition, the new investor syndicate with LBBW Ventures and Bregua Corporation is well-known to us, for example from our common successful investment in Phenex Pharmaceuticals.”

Acousia was founded in 2012 by the three partners Prof. Hubert Löwenheim (a well-known and recognized expert in the field of hearing loss), EMC Microcollections GmbH and Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF). Creathor is joined in this financing round by LBBW Ventures, Bregua Corporation and existing backers BIVF and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Acousia plans to use the money raised for the further pre-clinical and early- to mid-stage clinical development of its drug candidates.



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