Scottish biotech firm Invizius, which has developed a technology aimed at reducing long-term side effects and health complications from dialysis treatment, is seeking Series A funding after undergoing promising safety trials.
The company has created a treatment which has been referred to as an ‘invisibility cloak’ for its ability to enter the body undetected. This special coating system, called the H-Guard® Priming Solution, lines the inside of the dialysis filter and allows dialysis to take place completely undetected by the body’s immune system. This prevents the blood’s foreign body response from taking place, thereby preventing a hostile inflammatory reaction.
Dialysis treatment can currently reduce life expectancy by two thirds, which is thought to be due in part to cardiovascular damage resulting from the inflammatory reaction to the dialysis filter. Almost half of patients die from cardiovascular complications.
In some 20% of dialysis patients – referred to as possessing ‘angry blood’ – immune reaction to the dialysis filter is particularly extreme, and is associated with increased risk of serious side effects and even death. These patients may particularly benefit from this treatment option in future.
Since first announcing our pioneering H-Guard® Priming Solution, we have been undergoing extensive testing which has shown considerable promise. We have completed manufacturing and early toxicity testing and will be conducting Ex Vivo testing at the University of Groningen as soon as the Netherlands’ lockdown rules allow. In the coming year, we hope to work towards clinical trials in patients and aim to get this product to market as soon as possible.”
Richard Boyd, Invizius co-founder and CEO
Given its working relationship with the University of Groningen, Dr Marc Seelen of the university’s Department of Internal Medicine, Nephrology, has been appointed as a Clinical Adviser to Invizius.
There are currently 3 million dialysis patients worldwide who receive treatment multiple times a week. This number was set to increase by 6% year on year before the onset of COVID-19, however the increase in patients will now likely be higher given the long-term damage that the virus can wreak on patients’ kidneys. For particularly ill patients with COVID-19, the virus can cause acute kidney failure which can eventually turn into chronic kidney failure – with the only treatment options being either lifelong dialysis or a kidney transplant.
In addition to the physical side effects for patients, there is evidence of a link between inflammation and feelings of fatigue and depression, which might explain why these are routinely experienced by dialysis patients. By reducing the body’s inflammatory response, the H-Guard® Priming Solution may also help dialysis patients’ quality of life.
The current dialysis treatment methods have a hugely negative impact on patients’ quality of life, not to mention their life expectancy – and this has barely improved over the last 20 years. We refuse to accept the status quo. Our aim is for H-Guard® to be approved as soon as possible in order to transform the lives of millions of hemodialysis patients worldwide.”
Dr Andy Herbert, Invizius co-founder and Chief Technology Officer
Last year Invizius raised £2.75 million to assist with the development of the H-Guard® system. The seed funding round was led by Mercia, Solvay, Downing, Old College Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank. It now looks to raise an additional £3-6 million within the next year in order to progress to clinical trials in 2022.