Gene Therapy

Paris-based biotech startup, SparingVision is at the verge of servicing humans. The switch is coming for the genomics specialized startup after it previously concentrated on the development of therapeutics for ocular diseases. SparingVision made it’s most recent announcement of a $75 million raise at a fundraising spearheaded by Heita Capital and UPMC Enterprise. This raise brings SparingVision’s total funds to $127.6 million. This is coming at a time when biotech funding has become quite difficult to access.

SparingVision has been in operation for 6 years, and plans to divert this fund to its runway into 2025. The funds will also be used to consolidate its ability to dose human patients in clinical trials. This move by SparingVision will make it a pacesetter as no therapeutic company has achieved this feat.

SparingVision runs with two gene therapy assets. The first one focuses on slowing the advancement of inherited retinal diseases, and age-related macular degeneration. These two conditions seriously exacerbate poor vision. The second gene therapy asset focuses on the restoration of the clarity of vision, and the distinguishing of colours for patients suffering from late stage retinitis pigmentosa (this causes loss of vision at night).

How Does Gene therapy Work?

Genetic material may be likened to the body’s user manual. In it’s original state, it helps the body to perform excellently. However when this user manual gets some variants or mutations in its genetic code, it passes the wrong signal to the body, and ultimately results in diseases.

How is gene therapy different from the conventional medicine? The oral drugs we consume to fight diseases are chemicals. It is a case of fighting poison with another poison. Gene therapy focus on the reconfiguration of the DNA. It eliminates the parts of the gene responsible for diseases, and replaces them with a new genetic code. Unlike the conventional oral drugs which requires a regimented administration mostly over a long period (daily or weekly), gene therapy can be administered just once. Successful gene therapy administered on a patient can change their genetic code. It can also prevent the future occurrence of genetic disorders which could have been passed down to the patient’s next generation.

Startups focused on gene therapy enjoyed the patronage of venture capital firms last year. In 2021 this sector recorded a massive 125% increase in investments gulping around $13 billion from venture capitals. Prior to this, the sector experienced massive exits. Venture capital firms have been a bit austere with their investments recently and so the experience for the sector in 2022 is quite similar to the 2019 – 2020 experience. It has not been all so rosy for the sector as it has only gathered about $6.4 billion in funding thus far.

As originally reported in (