The UC Berkeley spinout-derived genetic eye disease therapeutics company has launched with fresh funding featuring new and founding investors.

Vedere Bio II, a US-based hereditary ocular disease therapy developer whose predecessor spun out of University of California, Berkeley, launched with a $77m series A round on Tuesday.

Merchant bank Octagon Capital led the round, which included Casdin Capital, Samsara BioCapital and the company’s founding investors Atlas Venture, Mission BioCapital and Retinal Degeneration Fund, a vehicle for eye disease-focused non-profit Foundation Fighting Blindness.

The original Vedere Bio was founded in 2019 in Switzerland and was acquired by pharmaceutical group Novartis in September 2020.

Similar to the original company, Vedere Bio II is also working on therapeutics for inherited retinal dystrophies – disorders that cause progressive loss of vision – using a mutation-resistant optogenetics platform to enhance the existing therapies designed to rebuild and preserve eyesight.

Cyrus Mozayeni, chief executive and president of Vedere Bio II and Atlas Venture entrepreneur in residence, said: “The launch of Vedere Bio II represents a milestone moment in our work to restore vision to patients with both genetic and non-genetic causes of vision loss, and we are excited to work with both our new and founding investors to advance our pipeline.

“Our novel vision restoration approach targets underserved indications and holds great promise to restore lost vision, exceeding the limitations of traditional gene therapy which primarily aim to slow further vision loss.”