Audion Therapeutics is a Netherlands based biotech developing therapeutics in the area of hearing loss, an area that has garnered serious interest from investors against the backdrop of an ageing population. This investor sentiment has meant that Audion Therapeutics was able to raise €2.5 million Series B investment from INKEF Capital, a Netherlands based venture capital firm. In addition, Audion announced that, together with a strong international consortium of development partners, it was awarded a 5.8 million Euro grant through the Horizon 2020 program, an important funding source for many European biotechs. The combined funds of €8.3 million enable Audion to progress its lead program targeting sensorineural hearing loss to clinical Proof of Concept.
Rolf Jan Rutten, CEO of Audion commented on these important milestones: “The investment from INKEF Capital and the receipt of the Horizon 2020 grant show that there is an increased commitment in both the private and public sector to develop pharmaceutical approaches to treat sensorineural hearing loss. It furthermore confirms Audion’s leading position in this rapidly growing field and validates the potential of our lead program. Our excellent industrial and academic partners with whom we form the REGAIN consortium under the Horizon 2020 program are essential in our effort to bring a hearing loss treatment to patients.”
Of people aged 65 to 74, nearly 33 percent have hearing loss and close to 50 percent of people over the age of 75 are affected. Almost everyone over the age of 85 is affected to some extent. The number of people in the world with age-related hearing loss is expected to increase to 900 million by 2050. The incidence is rising rapidly among younger people as well, due to frequent exposure to excessive noise. Estimates from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place the total annual costs of hearing loss at approximately $50 billion per year in the U.S. alone. There are currently no prescription products for a disease modifying treatment for hearing loss.