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Qlaris Bio Completes $24 Million Series B Financing Round to Advance QLS‑111, a First-in-class IOP-lowering Drug Candidate for Glaucoma

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Financing led by Canaan and New Leaf Venture Partners, and includes funds managed by abrdn Inc., Correlation Ventures, and Mayo Clinic Ventures

DEDHAM, Mass., April 30, 2024-- Qlaris Bio, Inc. (“Qlaris”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company targeting unmet needs in debilitating ophthalmic diseases, today announced that it has closed a $24 million Series B financing round. Co-led by Canaan and New Leaf Venture Partners, the financing also included new participation from funds managed by abrdn Inc., as well as existing investors Mayo Clinic Ventures and Correlation Ventures.

Proceeds from the financing will support the continued clinical development of QLS‑111, a first-in-class therapeutic being developed to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by targeting episcleral venous pressure (EVP). Qlaris is currently conducting two U.S. Phase II clinical trials of QLS‑111 (Osprey and Apteryx). The Osprey and Apteryx studies are investigating the safety, tolerability, optimal dosing, and efficacy of QLS‑111 in patients with open angle glaucoma (OAG) and ocular hypertension (OHT). Additional clinical advancements, including the initiation of the Nightingale Phase II clinical trial in normal tension glaucoma (NTG), are anticipated by the end of 2024.

The science behind QLS‑111 originated in the lab of Dr. Michael Fautsch, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic professor of ophthalmology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The drug candidate aims to lower IOP by relaxing vessels of vascular and vascular-like tissues distal to the trabecular meshwork, thereby reducing distal outflow resistance and lowering EVP. As there are currently no approved medications that selectively target the reduction of EVP, there is a significant gap in the potential to maximally lower IOP, as EVP can be the largest determinant of overall IOP. Preliminary data suggest that QLS‑111 is well-tolerated with no significant hyperemia or safety concerns.

“We are grateful to have the support of this outstanding syndicate of leading life science investors, which will enable the continued development of our lead product, QLS‑111,” said Thurein Htoo, MS, MBA, Chief Executive Officer of Qlaris. “Qlaris is dedicated to developing new mechanisms of action that target unaddressed parameters within IOP regulation, an area of critical need. QLS‑111 aims to achieve this goal by fundamentally targeting EVP to enable improved IOP control for patients with glaucoma, including those with NTG, a condition for which there are no currently approved therapeutics. This funding will provide Qlaris the means to execute on our clinical strategy to develop a novel solution to a critical unmet need.”

“Since the company’s inception, we have believed in Qlaris’ novel technology, talented leadership, and skilled team,” said Wende Hutton, General Partner at Canaan. “We invest in companies that partner an innovative approach with strong leadership and accomplished scientists to successfully reach critical milestones. Qlaris has the potential to demonstrate the importance of targeting EVP in the ongoing QLS‑111 Phase II trials and we look forward to the data from this innovative drug candidate.”

About Qlaris Bio, Inc.

Qlaris Bio, Inc. was founded in August 2019 with a singular focus: to develop novel, innovative therapies with first-in-class mechanisms of action to address serious and debilitating ophthalmic diseases. The company’s lead program, QLS‑111, uses ATP-sensitive potassium channel modulators that improve outflow through distal vascular tissues of the eye to reduce IOP. Qlaris Bio’s investors include Canaan and New Leaf Venture Partners, both of which were co-lead investors in the company’s $25 million Series A funding round in August 2019. Other investors include Correlation Ventures, Mayo Clinic, and funds managed by abrdn Inc. For more information, please visit qlaris.bio.

Contact:
Michele Gray
michele@mgraycommunications.com
(917) 449-9250

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