News Releases
Jun. 05 2023

Restore Vision Closes Series A Round Funding Aims to Begin First-in-Human Study in 2024

Restore Vision Inc., a biopharmaceutical company in Japan aiming to fast-track the development of a treatment to restore vision through gene therapy, announced today that it has successfully secured a 1.3 billion JPY Series A round funding (“Funding”) with the lead investor Remiges Ventures and existing investors ANRI and Real Tech Fund, and with new investors DBJ Capital, QB Capital, SMBC Venture Capital, Spiral Capital, and Higin Capital. The company is expecting to raise additional funds with new investors in connection with this Funding as well. 

This Funding will be used to advance the pharmaceutical development, IND-enabling studies, and clinical trials of RV-001, the lead program in the pipeline at the company, to obtain PMDA approval for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa first. Phase I/II trials in Japan are projected to start in 2024, followed by clinical proof-of-concept (POC) in 2025, and the company will boost its efforts in developing the program for FDA approval and for further global marketing. Concurrently, a second program in the pipeline is under development in joint research with Kyoto University as strategic collaborations.

“We are thrilled to make an additional investment in Restore Vision developing novel gene therapy treatment programs, alongside many other prominent investors,” commented Taka’aki Tobaru and Kazuhiko Nonomura, a partner and a principal of lead investor Remiges Ventures, respectively. “This funding will support their first-in-human study involving patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa. We are confident that the successful development of this program through series of financing will be a big step towards an effective prevention and treatment method for patients still suffering from the intractable disease and create value for the company.” 

“Development of gene-agnostic optogenetic treatments targeting inherited retinal diseases is garnering more global attention each year, offering hope to patients awaiting speedy arrival of a cure,” says Yusaku Katada, CEO of Restore Vision. “Taking advantage of the regulatory landscape in Japan, we are building a strong and agile team to expand our operations internationally after our first-in-human study in Japan in preparation to begin in 2024. We are extremely grateful for this funding led by a therapeutics-focused global VC Remiges Ventures, among these eight investors who have confidence in our technology and resonate with our vision. This has been made possible by our long-standing relationship with their management even before the inception of our company. We are committed to accelerating the development of the program globally, and bringing our innovative science and technology to patients worldwide as soon as possible.”

About our product RV‑001
RV-001 is the lead gene therapy product in the pipeline, using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors with the unique functional gene coding ‘Chimeric Rhodopsin’ which is a protein-based optical sensor. It is a treatment that can restore vision in patients blinded by photoreceptor loss. We take a simple and minimally invasive approach, intravitreal injection, to deliver our therapeutic gene that will express chimeric rhodopsin in the remaining interneurons, enabling the patient to see again. Many genetic retinal disorders have unmet medical needs of effective prevention and treatment: A good example is retinitis pigmentosa, the main target disease of RV-001, which is a designated intractable disease and the 2nd leading cause of blindness in Japan, and afflicts millions of patients and families globally. Currently, RV-001 is moving well toward pre-clinical development including formulations and on to clinical trials very soon. Restore Vision is committed to bring the world’s first vision restoration gene therapy with which patients can see the long-awaited light at the end of their tunnel.

About Restore Vision
Restore Vision Inc. is a startup company founded in November 2016, based on promising results of a joint research between associate professor Toshihide Kurihara of Keio University School of Medicine and professor Hideki Kandori of Nagoya Institute of Technology to develop a visual restoration gene therapy for blindness caused by retinal disorders, using a clinical application of optogenetics technology. Restore Vision’s mission is to deliver therapies at light speed to patients waiting for an effective treatment and end blindness by making cutting-edge gene therapy technology available to all.

About Remiges Ventures
Remiges Ventures is a US-Japan cross-border venture capital firm focused on therapeutics. Remiges Ventures takes a lead position for the syndication of Series A of investment rounds globally, and actively creates new companies based on innovative science and unique intellectual properties from the Japanese academia.

[Company Overview]
Restore Vision Inc.
Yusaku Katada, CEO
Established November 14, 2016
Toranomon Hills Business Tower 15F, 1-17-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan

Restore Vision Inc. / COO Hikaru Miyazaki