Edinburgh biotech firm to take cataract treatment to the high street after key investment deal

Edinburgh Biosciences has signed a multi-million pound licensing and equity investment deal in China, as the firm looks to take cataract treatment from the operating theatre to the high street.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 7:39 am
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 7:39 am

The ten-year agreement has been struck with China’s Haoguang, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boye Biotech.

Capital-headquartered Edinburgh Biosciences (EBS) has raised some £3 million to date and is about to embark on a major £5m series A round, as the eyecare technology specialist looks to radically improve and shorten the pathway of care for cataract patients.

More than 20 million cataract operations took place worldwide last year, and the technology being developed by the EBS team provides an alternative to surgery by non-invasive treatment and is seen as offering a significant reduction in cost per patient.

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Graham Bell and David Quigley of Edinburgh Biosciences with the company's LEDINBIO device. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Graham Bell and David Quigley of Edinburgh Biosciences with the company's LEDINBIO device. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Underpinned by years of research and development and having reached a series of clinical trial milestones, the system deploys LED technology for diagnosis, monitoring and treatment and is on course to make cataract treatment delivery up to 90 per cent quicker by taking cataract treatment from operating theatres to a high street clinical setting.

This may also help alleviate hospital waiting lists that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

EBS is targeting the European, UK and Chinese markets in its first phase of commercialisation, and plans to sell its technology to clinical optometry and ophthalmology providers, as well as other eye and healthcare industry players.

Chief executive Graham Bell previously led corporate development, and mergers and acquisitions at Nasdaq-listed University of Dundee spin-out Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, while chairman David Quigley, a qualified optometrist and joint venture partner with Specsavers Opticians in Scotland, also chairs Optometry Scotland.

EBS was founded by Professor Des Smith, a top Scottish bioscience entrepreneur, who remains on the board.

Bell said: “EBS is positioned to revolutionise cataract treatment, first in the European, UK and China markets, and then worldwide.

“The technology we have developed will change the pathway of care for cataract patients, meaning treatment can be administered in a local setting rather than in an operating theatre. When you factor in hospital waiting lists that have only been exacerbated by Covid, the timing is opportune for a drastic change to the status quo where surgery is the sole solution for a cataract.”

Quigley added: “As an industry, we’ve been seeking a more effective solution for tackling the cataract challenge and the impact it has on patients and hospital waiting times.

“The team has proven, most recently through successful clinical trials, that the technology will be a game-changer, deliverable conveniently, safely and efficiently in a non-surgical setting.

“While focusing on the European, UK and China markets over the initial phase, we envisage even greater market opportunities worldwide going forward.”

The firm is in active discussions with a number of UK and international regulatory bodies, has a number of patents in place or pending, and expects to double headcount this year.

The series A investment round process is being managed by Manchester-based advisory firm Oyster Venture Partners, which specialises in supporting the life science, healthcare and healthtech sectors.

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