Cem Sertoglu Partner at Earlybird VC
(Cem Sertoglu Partner at Earlybird VC. Image Credit: Earlybird)

Earlybird-backed Oculis closes $57M in funding


Earlybird Venture Capital’s Health portfolio Swiss biopharma company Oculis focused on developing transformative ophthalmic treatments, announced that it has closed an oversubscribed US$57 million Series C financing.

The round was co-led by new investors BVCF Management and Hyfinity Investments, with VI Partners and Wille AG joining the company’s existing investors, Bay City Capital, Brunnur, Earlybird, Funds managed by Tekla Capital Management, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Nan Fung Life Sciences, Novartis Bioventures Ltd., as well as other existing investors.

This syndication further broadens Oculis’ strong shareholder base of leading life sciences investors from the US, China and Europe. Proceeds from this financing will accelerate Oculis’ strategy with the aim of delivering key goals in the near term to drive shareholder value and bring transformative therapies to patients. The targeted milestones cover the development of novel topical therapies for ophthalmic diseases targeting the retina and anterior segment with high unmet needs including:

  • Advancing Oculis’ late-stage transformative topical Ophthalmic portfolio
  • Expanding pipeline of innovative ophthalmology candidates targeting major unmet needs using
    Oculis’ proprietary formulation discovery platform and going beyond.
  • Executing the company’s international strategy to become a global player to deliver its mission
    on developing transformative innovative ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of
    patients globally.

Vanessa Huang, General Partner at BVCF Management, and Dr. Sylvia He, Managing Partner at Hyfinity Investments are joining the Oculis Board of Directors while Dr. David Weber and Dr. Thorsteinn Loftsson are stepping down .

Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland with global operations in Europe and the U.S., Oculis has a robust and expansive development portfolio including late-stage novel topical (eye drop) treatments, which are non-invasive and represent an unprecedented technical advance for patients with retinal edema and front-of-the-eye diseases.

In addition, Oculis’ formulation discovery and innovation capabilities enable the development of a pipeline of topical drugs targeting sight-threatening eye diseases that affect both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye.

Berlin-based Earlybird is a venture capital investor focused on European technology companies. Founded in 1997, by Cem Sertoglu, Christian Nagel, Hendrik Brandis, Roland Manger and Rolf Mathies, Earlybird invests in all growth and development phases of a company.

Amongst the most experienced venture investors in Europe, Earlybird offers its portfolio companies not only financial resources, but also strategic and operational support as well as access to an international network and capital markets. Earlybird manages different funds with a focus on digital technologies in Eastern and Western Europe as well as healthcare technologies.

Earlybird is also among the three venture capital firms which made the initial seed investment into Romania-born UiPath, a global leader in the area known as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

In April, Uipath rang the bell at NYSE at what became the largest IPO for a Europe-born technology company, with a $36bn market cap after the first day of trading.

With EUR 1.5 billion under management, eight IPOs and 30 trade sales, Earlybird is one of the most successful venture capital firms in Europe.