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Aramis Biosciences Launches to Address Unmet Needs in Ocular Immunology

Launches with $10.5 million Series A Financing Led by Safar Partners to advance disease-modifying therapy for ocular surface disease into the clinic.

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(PRESS RELEASE) BOSTON, MA — Aramis Biosciences, Inc., a clinical-stage immuno-ophthalmology biopharmaceutical company, announced its launch and the completion of a $10.5 million Series A financing led by Safar Partners with a strategic investment from a global leader in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals. Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the company’s pipeline, including its lead product candidate, A197, a novel, first-in-class, topical immunomodulatory agent licensed from Dompé farmaceutici, through Phase II clinical proof of concept for the treatment of dry eye disease.

Aramis Biosciences was founded by leading experts in the fields of corneal disorders, ocular inflammation and immunology, Reza Dana, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc. and Sunil Chauhan, D.V.M., Ph.D., following more than a decade of research at The Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear and Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, where the role of a certain subset of pro-inflammatory T helper cells were found to be central to the immunopathogenesis of dry eye disease. This discovery was made possible by more than $9 million in non-dilutive federal grant funding and is the subject of extensive peer-reviewed publications in leading scientific journals.

“Dry eye disease is the number one non-refractive reason why patients seek eye care, but less than 5 percent of patients are currently treated with an FDA-approved product due to suboptimal efficacy and tolerability limitations commonly associated with these products. Aramis Biosciences was founded to address this treatment gap with A197, a new molecular entity promising a rapid onset of action, a durable, disease-modifying effect and a clean tolerability profile,” said Reza Dana, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., Scientific Co-Founder of Aramis Biosciences.

World-Renowned Experts in Corneal Disorders, Ocular Inflammation and Immunology

Dr. Dana is an internationally recognized expert in corneal disorders, ocular inflammation and immunology who holds the Claes Dohlman Chair in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. He is Director of the Cornea Service at Mass Eye and Ear, Senior Scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear where he leads the Laboratory of Corneal Immunology, Transplantation and Regeneration, and is a member of the Harvard Medical School Committee on Immunology. Dr. Chauhan, an expert in immune modulation and stem cell biology, is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Scientist at The Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear.

Validating Partnerships

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In addition to its strong scientific foundation from Mass Eye and Ear and a strategic investment from a global leader in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, Aramis Biosciences boasts Dompé farmaceutici S.p.A. as a shareholder and the licensor of its lead product candidate, A197. Through its exclusive global license agreement, Aramis Biosciences has secured from Dompé the global ophthalmic rights to this novel, first-in-class, topical immunomodulatory agent. Furthermore, Aramis Biosciences has leveraged Dompé’s extensive research and development capabilities through an additional financial and operational resource partnership to complete all IND-enabling preclinical studies, CMC development and providing Phase II clinical supply of A197.

“We are thrilled to see how our EXSCALATE artificial intelligence platform was able to rapidly identify a new molecular entity meeting the very challenging specifications for an immunomodulatory agent with optimal characteristics for topical delivery to the ocular surface,” said Marcello Allegretti, Chief Scientific Officer of Dompé. “Leveraging our deep know-how on cytokine and chemokine targets, EXSCALATE enabled the Aramis Biosciences team to accelerate the process from target identification to IND significantly faster than is typically seen. We look forward to following the clinical translation of A197’s promising preclinical results next year.”

Accomplished Leadership

Aramis Biosciences is led by an experienced management team, with 30-year pharmaceutical/med-tech veteran, David S. Tierney, M.D., as President and CEO, and has assembled a board of directors and medical advisory board with a proven track record of building and creating value at successful life sciences companies. Prior to Dr. Tierney’s appointment as President and CEO of Aramis Biosciences, he served as President and CEO of Pharma Two B, BioPharmX Corporation and Icon Bioscience, Inc., now EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: EYPT), where he led a team that in 2018 received U.S. FDA approval of its New Drug Application for DEXYCU (dexamethasone intraocular suspension), a dropless, long-acting therapeutic for treating inflammation associated with cataract surgery. Dr. Tierney served as President and COO of Oceana Therapeutics, Inc., a specialty therapeutic company he co-founded in 2008. Oceana quickly established a global commercial network and by 2011 was acquired by Salix Pharmaceuticals, now Bausch Health. Under his leadership, Valera Pharmaceuticals grew into a fully integrated, commercial, specialty pharma company that successfully completed an initial public offering in 2006. Valera has since been merged into Endo Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he served as senior vice president of drug development at Roberts Pharmaceutical prior to its acquisition by Shire Pharmaceuticals, now Takeda, and held a variety of management positions at Elan Corporation, now Perrigo. Dr. Tierney received his medical degree from Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

David S. Tierney, M.D., Aramis Biosciences’ president and CEO commented, “We look forward to entering Phase 2 clinical trials with A197. With unparalleled science and strategic support from Safar, Dompé, and a global leader in ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, the team at Aramis Bio is committed to delivering this promising investigational therapy to dry eye patients worldwide.”

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