Tuesday, May 11, 2021

University of Sheffield spinout company raises £10m to advance stem cell therapy for hearing loss

University of Sheffield spinout company, Rinri Therapeutics, has raised a total of £10 million from investors and the UK Future Fund to advance its novel stem cell therapy to restore hearing loss.

The biotechnology company is developing a novel stem cell therapy to restore hearing and will use the £10 million raised from existing investors, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF), UCB Ventures and BioCity alongside the UK Government Future Fund, to support the development of its stem cell therapy to reverse sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).

Rinri’s underlying technology is based on innovative research into auditory stem cells led by Professor Marcelo Rivolta at the University of Sheffield. It seeks to reverse SNHL through the repair of the damaged cytoarchitecture in the inner ear.

SNHL happens when there is damage to the hair cells in the cochlea and/or to the auditory nerve. There are currently no pharmacological treatments available for SNHL despite the increasing number of patients that suffer from this condition globally.

Professor Marcelo Rivolta, said: “This investment is a validation of the journey we started several years ago. We are very happy and grateful for the continued support from our investors, now together with the UK Future Fund.

“We believe the technology we are developing can have a substantial impact on the lives of people affected by hearing loss, and these funds will help us pave the way to a first in man clinical trial.”

Dr Simon Chandler, CEO of Rinri Therapeutics, said: “We are very pleased to receive continuing support from existing investors alongside matched funding from the UK Future Fund.

“Our major investors share the vision we have for our technology to bring transformational changes to the lives of patients suffering from hearing loss, and the proceeds from this fund raising will allow us to advance our pioneering journey towards first in-man clinical trials and to ultimately realise the potential of stem cell therapy to reverse sensorineural hearing loss.”

Frank Kalkbrenner, Global Head of the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, said: “We are delighted to continue our backing of Rinri and its pioneering approach to hearing loss, now with the added endorsement and support of the Future Fund.

“We believe Rinri’s’ technology is differentiated from other approaches to hearing loss restoration and has the potential to make a significant impact on treatment.”

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