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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

EIT Health invests €500K in Ochre Bio

19th October 2022

Oxford-based start-up, Ochre Bio, has closed Series A funding to the value of $30M. EIT Health, Europe’s largest health innovation network, contributed €500K of the total amount via its Gold Track accelerator programme. 

Ochre Bio is a biotechnology company developing RNA therapies for chronic liver diseases. Investors in the round included Khosla VenturesHermes-EpitekBacked VC, and LifeForce Capital, among others such as EIT Health.

In 2019, chronic liver disease was the cause of over 297,000 deaths in Europe, accounting for 3% of all deaths in the region. Liver stress is at the heart of several cardiometabolic diseases, and can increase risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Due to a shortage of therapy options for patients, many resort to a liver transplant. Demand outstrips supply of healthy donor organs, with many donor livers in transplant centres being too fatty for use.

Ochre Bio, co-founded by Jack O’Meara and Quin Wills in 2019, is working to improve the viability of donor livers. Their solution reprograms the liver and tests RNA therapies on those that are discarded due to fatty liver disease. Donor livers can be kept alive outside the body for multiple days which means Ochre Bio can conduct extensive testing in the search for a wider set of treatments.

In 2020, Ochre Bio joined EIT Health’s Gold Track accelerator programme. High-potential European start-ups avail of 1:1 coaching from subject matter experts, including global investors and decision makers at multinational pharma and device companies. Together they deep dive into growth planning for scaling into new markets, and setting strategic financial milestones. Powered by economic operator Advise Connect Inspire (ACI), Gold Track’s accelerator model has led to companies raising over €500M, securing 24 partnerships and achieving three exits.

The prevalence of chronic liver disease is on the rise amongst patients in Europe driven by factors like obesity and diabetes. Start-ups such as Ochre Bio, that are developing game-changing solutions to solve rising unmet clinical needs, are perfect candidates to join EIT Health’s Gold Track programme. At EIT Health we recognised the remarkable innovation behind Ochre’s idea and are proud to have joined the investment syndicate in this Series A round through our Grant for Options model,” said Christina Hertel, Head of Asset Management at EIT Health’s Invest Health & Programme Director for Gold Track.

We congratulate Jack and the team for moving at incredible pace on their growth journey, accelerated by their work with EIT Health’s Gold Track programme. We also celebrate that Khosla Ventures has stood up to fund an EIT-alumni company for the third time in 24 months,” said Marc Butterly, Business Creation Lead at EIT Health Ireland-UK.

Chronic liver disease is now the third leading cause of premature death in much of the developed world. At Ochre Bio we aim to use transplant research as a way to way to de-risk and develop therapies that will treat those affected,” said Jack O’Meara, Co-Founder and CEO at Ochre Bio 

“Participating on EIT Health’s Gold Track programme gave us direct access to industry leaders who could advise and open doors for us. The people involved in Gold Track are top drawer and we have remained in touch with many of them until today. The Series A investment, with EIT Health as part of the investor syndicate, will enable us to further the development of promising therapies for liver diseases, one of the most important and underserved public health challenges of our time.”

In 2021, Ochre Bio completed seed funding to the value of $9.6M. Funds raised from Series A will be used to support pre-clinical testing and inform which therapies will be progressed to clinical development stage. Ochre Bio also plans to expand its drug discovery and development platforms to advance research into liver disease.

EIT Health’s Ireland-UK team will sponsor and attend the Furthr Festival investment conference in Dublin on 21st October 2022. Meet the team to discuss potential investment opportunities by contacting us at this link.

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