Nottingham wins backing for cutting-edge eyecare

University spin-out receives funding to commercialise ground-breaking eyecare technology

University of Nottingham spin-out, NuVision, has received £379k seed funding from Mercia Fund Management, to help develop innovative new eye care solutions for humans and animals.

The funding from Mercia will support the commercialisation of NuVision’s ground-breaking product, Omnigen™; an easy to use, dry, amniotic membrane-derived biological bandage that can be used to treat ocular wounds caused by scratches, blisters and burns, as soon as they occur. It can also be used treat long-term, non-healing persistent defects.

Founded by Professor Harminder Dua, a world-renowned ophthalmologist, and Dr Andrew Hopkinson, Principle Research Fellow in Academic Ophthalmology at The University of Nottingham, NuVision has successfully harnessed the restorative and protective potential of amniotic membrane; the sac surrounding the baby during pregnancy, which is usually discarded at birth. Market demand for amnion products in the EU alone is valued at €48m per annum.

Omnigen, which is the result of 13 years of research, also supported by the British Ministry of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, can potentially save people from blindness caused by injury to the cornea. A dry, sterile Omnigen disc can be glued directly onto the ocular surface during reconstructive surgery, and permanently sutured in position.

Most uniquely, it can also now be used immediately after injury, applied in the emergency room and held in place by a contact lens. Rapid rehydration from eye moisture then initiates the release of beneficial amnion constituents, acting quickly to help relieve pain and stabilise the eye injuries of anyone, from a pet, to soldiers on the battlefield.

NuVision’s unique flexible, dry and stable design means that Omnigen can be stored on the shelf at every hospital, or carried in the field in ambulances and first aid kits and used whenever it is needed. It is also of a consistently high quality, helping to quickly and effectively treat the 120,000 corneal injuries that occur each year in the UK alone.

Peter Dines, Investment Director and Head of Life Sciences at Mercia Fund Management, said: ‘NuVision is the perfect example of the potential that university spinouts have in the UK – a great team, innovating research and a product set to revolutionise ophthalmic care worldwide are just a few of the reasons why we chose to back NuVision with seed funding. We look forward to supporting them as they begin to commercialise Omnigen and the Tereo process.’

Dr Andrew Hopkinson, Chief Executive of NuVision Biotherapies, said: ‘We are grateful to Mercia for this investment, and we look forward especially to working with Peter Dines, who has extensive experience working with businesses in the life sciences sector.

‘With a strong, experienced team, plus a pipeline of innovative products coming from The University of Nottingham, NuVision has endless potential for growth!’

For more information about The University of Nottingham’s business services, click here.

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