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UCL Technology Fund Investment MeiraGTx Raises $75 Million in IPO

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UCL Technology Fund announced that one of its investments, MeiraGTx Holdings plc, a vertically integrated, clinical stage gene therapy company, raised $75 million of gross proceeds upon close of the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on June 12 2018, selling 5,000,000 shares at a public offering price of $15.00 per share. The shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

The UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) is managed by Albion Capital in collaboration with UCL Business (UCLB), UCL’s commercialisation company, and is dedicated to bringing UCL’s world-class research in life and physical sciences to commercial reality. MeiraGTx is its first investment to IPO. MeiraGTx has strong roots in UCL; its rare eye diseases business was borne out of the laboratories of Professor Robin Ali, a human molecular genetics expert at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, a world leader in ocular gene therapy.

MeiraGTx is developing therapies for diseases of the eye, salivary glands and central nervous system. Its expertise in viral vector design and optimisation, advanced gene therapy manufacturing, and technology providing temporal control of gene therapies, has the potential to transform the gene therapy landscape. The company, based in London and New York, has four ongoing clinical programmes, one compassionate use programme and a broad pipeline of preclinical and research programs. Funds raised from the IPO will enable MeiraGTx to progress its product candidates to treat inherited rare eye diseases, xerostomia (‘dry mouth’) and neurodegenerative diseases.

The company was founded in the UK in 2015 in a series of deals which combined the assets and expertise of MeiraGTx and UCLB spinout Athena Vision. Athena Vision was created by UCLB, who owned the rights and options to Professor Robin Ali’s and team’s ophthalmic gene therapy programs. The UCL Technology Fund first supported MeiraGTx as part of a $70 million Series B investment round in 2017 to fund the continuation of its clinical trials.

Christoph Ruedig, partner at Albion Capital, says: “MeiraGTx is revolutionising the treatment of ocular, nerve and salivary gland diseases with highly specialised, flexible gene therapies which have the potential to dramatically decrease morbidity and improve quality of life.

“We are impressed by the way the company combines cutting-edge science, a nimble platform and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to deliver life-changing gene treatments. We look forward to supporting the business’s ongoing development through the next stage of its journey as a public company.”

Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director at UCLB, says: “We are proud to have been there at the beginning, through the creation of Athena Vision, to support the commercialisation of the world-leading gene therapy work of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, seeing how that work has grown and developed so impressively over the years at MeiraGTx. We are pleased to be able to continue to work and invest in them through the UCL Technology Fund.