In an initiative to progress its programs targeting sensorineural hearing loss, Audion Therapeutics received a Series A investment from Eli Lilly.
As part of the deal, the firms also entered into a licensing agreement that gives Audion the rights to certain Lilly compounds that can be developed to potentially treat hearing loss by hair cell regeneration. Lilly has an option to reacquire these rights upon successful clinical proof of concept.
“The investment validates our scientific approach and it underlines the potential of our hair cell regeneration program,” Rolf Jan Rutten, CEO of Audion. “It allows us to expand our infrastructure with a laboratory facility in Cambridge, MA and gives us access to a selection of Lilly’s potent, proprietary molecules that will push Audion’s lead program significantly forward.”
Audion’s hearing loss small molecule drug discovery program focuses on inner hair cell regeneration. According to the company, it has developed techniques of inner ear molecular biology enabling the development of new drugs that can regenerate the lost hair cells and potentially restore a level of hearing.