SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 29, 2016) – NeuroVision Imaging LLC has raised a Series B financing round led by a $5 million investment from Wildcat Capital Management, the family office of TPG co-founder David Bonderman. A portion of the Series B financing has been reserved for strategic investors.
Wildcat is providing support for NeuroVision as it seeks advanced validation and regulatory approval for its retinal imaging technology in connection with the early detection and monitoring of amyloid pathology related to Alzheimer's disease.
Additionally, Leonard Potter, chief investment officer and president of Wildcat Capital Management, has been named to NeuroVision's board of directors.
"This agreement is an important milestone in the continued development of NeuroVision's technology," said Steven Verdooner, NeuroVision CEO. "We are also pleased to welcome Len Potter to our organization. We will benefit greatly from his experience with therapeutic and diagnostic startups as well as his insights and expertise in the world of investment and finance."
"NeuroVision is putting together an impressive scientific track record and garnering the attention of other organizations dedicated to finding answers to the threat of Alzheimer's disease, which often is likened to a developing tsunami," Potter said. "I'm happy to become personally involved in the future of the company and I look forward to the advancements that may be possible through our financial support."
A hallmark sign of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of amyloid beta plaque in the brain. Positron emission tomography, or PET scans, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis are currently used to detect amyloid for clinical trials and for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. These procedures are invasive, inconvenient and costly for clinical trial recruitment, and are impractical for routine screening, disease monitoring and evaluation of therapy response.
The retina, the light-sensing structure at the back of the eye, is a developmental outgrowth of the central nervous system and shares many of the brain's characteristics, enabling the potential of retinal imaging for amyloid detection in Alzheimer's disease. Previous studies found that amyloid beta plaque that accumulates in the brain also builds up in the retina and shares similar plaque structure and other characteristics. This breakthrough was discovered by a team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles led by Keith L. Black, M.D. and Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, Ph.D. NeuroVision holds the exclusive worldwide license to this technology, which is owned by Cedars-Sinai.
About NeuroVision Imaging LLC: NeuroVision was formed in 2010 and is headquartered in Sacramento, California. The company develops digital imaging and diagnostic solutions for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In a study published in NeuroImage by members of NVI's founding team, under the direction of Keith L. Black, M.D. and Maya Koronyo-Hamaoui, Ph.D., noninvasive retinal imaging was validated in transgenic mouse models and human cadaver studies for the early detection of amyloid beta plaque in the retina. NVI is building upon this research and has developed a proprietary test that utilizes a retinal imaging system and a proprietary high-bioavailability curcumin formulation. Commercialization plans include establishment of a simple eye test as a standard of care for noninvasive, high-resolution optical imaging for detection of amyloid beta plaque in AD diagnosis, prognosis assessment and response to therapies. Dr. Black, the company's chairman and co-founder, is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon, researcher and thought leader in areas of brain and blood-brain barrier function, enhancing the therapeutic effects of treatments in the brain, and optical imaging of the brain. He is the chair of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Neurosurgery. Steven R. Verdooner, NVI's CEO as well as a company director, is an experienced medical technology industry veteran who has successfully developed, commercialized and marketed ophthalmological imaging and measurement systems for other diagnostic applications.