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Summer Solstice or Mid-year Madness? 

by Greg Kunst, CEO

Summertime is upon us. The college basketball frenzy of March Madness is in the rear-view mirror. Kids everywhere are counting down to their final day of school and the relaxing bliss of summer vacation.

But here at Aurion Biotech, we’re kicking it into high gear.

I’m so proud of our team and their incredible accomplishments, that I want to highlight them here – and keep in mind that we’re not even halfway through 2022! Here goes:

Financing. We successfully raised $120 million from top-tier new investors Deerfield and Alcon, and top-tier existing investors Petrichor, Falcon Vision/KKR, Flying L Ventures and Visionary Ventures. This funding secures our ability to move forward with US clinical development and advance our efforts to submit a J-NDA in Japan. The quality of our investors and the size of this financing are compelling validation of our exciting opportunity.

R&D. We built out a brand-new lab for our Cambridge, MA scientific team. The office is full of natural light, there’s lots of cool equipment, and it’s roomy. So far, our scientists are delighted. And astonishingly creative and productive.

Clinical Development. We are continuing our follow-up with patients in the IOTA trial conducted at the Clinica Quesada in El Salvador, where four of our Medical Advisory Board surgeons have performed more than 50 procedures. Patients’ progress has been inspiring and we are pleased to report sustained improvements in their central corneal thickness and visual acuity.

Manufacturing. We are making game-changing strides with our CDMO partners, Cognate/CRL (US) and Sumitomo (Japan). In the US, this means we will have ample product supply for clinical trials, and in Japan we will be well prepared for commercialization.

Recognition, from the kind (and discerning) folks at Eyecelerator at ASCRS 2022. This is our second “Best in Show” award and we’re deeply thankful for their recognition of our program and achievements.

Executive Leadership. I’m thrilled to welcome Dr. Michael Goldstein to Aurion Biotech, as president and chief medical officer. Although he was very happily embedded at Ocular Therapeutix, we managed to pry him out of that role to join us here at Aurion. A practicing corneal specialist, Mike is a fantastic combination of so many things – deep industry experience working on numerous programs covering dry eye, allergic conjunctivitis, glaucoma, wet AMD, dry AMD, and inherited retinal diseases.  Still more experience with biotech and biopharma start-ups in gene therapy, biologics, peptides, small molecules and drug delivery. Depth and breadth of management experience leading clinical development, clinical operations, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, commercial operations, research and development, and innovation teams.

Most important, Mike embodies our values of grit, stewardship and transformation. He is all in, when it comes to advancing our transformational cell therapy. You can read more about him here in our press announcement.

My only concern about Mike Goldstein is that he is Team Ophthalmologist for the wrong team – the Boston Celtics. As a life-long Golden State Warriors fan, this was a tough roadblock for me to overcome. But I’m glad I did.

So what does the second half of 2022 hold for Aurion Biotech? More of the same, but that’s exactly what motivates us: more inspiring work from our brilliant employees; more long hours as we prepare to submit an IND here in the US and a J-NDA in Japan; more start-up obstacles that must be surmounted, in order to make progress in our mission to bring our life-changing cell therapy to millions of patients throughout the world.

We’re fired up and raring to go.