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Vaud-based biopharma Oculis will merge with EBAC and go public

Life sciences

26 October 2022

Oculis, a clinical-stage biotech aiming to develop new treatments for ophthalmic diseases, has signed a SPAC deal with EBAC.

Oculis has a robust and expansive development portfolio including late-stage novel topical (eye drop) treatments, which are non-invasive and represent an unprecedented technical advance for patients with retinal edema and front-of-the-eye diseases.

The company is currently conducting two phase 3 trials, one for solubilized eye drops in diabetic macular edema – a disease that can lead to blindness and is currently treated via eye injection – and another in inflammation and pain following ocular surgery.

As special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals in biotech make a slow comeback, another merger has been penned, this time between Oculis and European Biotech Acquisition Corp (EBAC).  

Riad Sherif, CEO of Oculis, explained: “Oculis’s purpose is to drive innovation to save sight and improve eye care. This transaction accelerates our mission and propels our pipeline of highly differentiated product candidates for patients and physicians. We are delighted to have the support of key investors. We look forward to delivering important milestones including Phase 3 clinical trials of OCS-01, a potential first topical eyedrop product to treat the retina, Phase 2b clinical trials of OCS02, a first in class topical anti-TNF for the treatment of DED and uveitis, and a proof-of-concept trial of neuroprotective agent, OCS-05, in acute optic neuritis. These are crucial deliverables towards bringing to market new therapies to patients.”

The merger, which is set to close in the first quarter of 2023, places Oculis on the path to become a publicly traded company. The newly listed entity Oculis Holding SA will be a company registered in Switzerland with headquarters on the current premises of Oculis at the EPFL Innovation Park in Lausanne (canton of Vaud).

Eduardo Bravo, CEO of EBAC, concluded: “Oculis has built a highly diversified late-stage pipeline that has the potential to revolutionize treatment in major ophthalmology segments. EBAC was formed to invest in the untapped potential in the European biotechnology sector and has screened over 100 European biotechnology companies. Oculis is a prime example of what we set out to invest in, with great innovation, a well thought out strategy and an experienced management team to bring promising therapies to market for patients suffering from eye disease.”