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Vedere Bio II Gets New Gene Therapy lead from BioMarin

Vedere Bio II just received a $77 million funding round, and the follow-up to the original Vedere Bio now has Gabor Veres, Ph.D. as its chief scientific officer. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup is working on next-generation eye disease gene therapeutics to restore or assist patients with visual loss due to photoreceptor death.

Veres was poached from rival biotech BioMarin. He was vice president and head of gene therapy research, focusing on AAV platform discovery and novel indications to aid with that aim. He worked at bluebird bio and Applied Genetic Technologies, among other places. Cyrus Mozayeni, M.D.’s first attempt at vision-restoring gene therapies, was snatched up when it was only getting started, and biotech has a rich history.

Even while that business, Vedere Bio, was operating under the radar, a slew of suitors came knocking, and Novartis eventually paid $150 million upfront for it last October, with a promise of another $130 million. Mozayeni, the company’s CEO and Atlas Venture’s entrepreneur in residence, and his team received $77 million last month to fund their second chapter, Vedere Bio II, buoyed by their success but hungry for more.

Vedere’s research focuses on vision loss caused by the death of photoreceptors or light-sensing cells in the retina, as opposed to blindness caused by brain or optic nerve damage. That team just got a little more diversified with the addition of Veres. Mozayeni said, “Gabor has over 15 years of experience leading preclinical research and development for international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and holds 20 years of experience in the development of cell and gene therapy products.”

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