Oxurion has received €1m ($1.09m) in funding from Atlas as part of a subscription agreement with Atlas totalling up to €20.8m ($25m).

The funds will be part of mandatorily convertible bonds issued by Oxurion, which will be subscribed by Atlas over two years, with €8.8m ($9.6mx) of this already invested.

Oxurion issued 40 convertible bonds with an 8% discounted conversion price, compared to the three-day lowest average volume-weighted average price (VWAP) for the last ten consecutive trading days from the conversion notice.

Oxurion plans to use these funds for the development programme of THR-149, a plasma kallikrein (PKal)-inhibitor for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema (DME). The drug is currently being evaluated in a randomised, multicentre, active-comparator Phase II trial (NCT04527107), with the comparator being Bayer/Regeneron’s Eylea (aflibercept). The topline results from the trial are expected in Q4 2023.

DME is a common complication of diabetes, which occurs due to the accumulation of excess fluid within the retina ultimately leading to blindness. In the US, 3.8% of adults with diabetes have DME, as per a published article.

As per GlobalData analysis, the DME market is expected to grow to $11.1bn by 2031. Longer-acting anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies such as Roche’s Susvimo, Kodiak Science’s KSI-301, and Bayer/Regeneron’s high-dose Eylea are expected to drive DME market growth.

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Furthermore, drugs with novel mechanisms of action such as THR-149 and Unity Biotechnology’s UBX-1325 are expected to propel further DME market growth. GlobalData forecasts THR-149 to generate $237m in 2030.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

THR-149 would face stiff competition in the market, with biosimilars of aflibercept, a commonly used treatment for DME, expected to hit the market soon. Johnson & Johnson’s aflibercept biosimilar is currently in a pre-registration phase.