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Clave Capital, D-Sight and VHIR team (Photo: VHIR).

Clave Capital invests 1 million euros in D-Sight, a VHIR spin-off

Clave Capital has invested €1 million from its Clave Innohealth in D-Sight, a recently created spin-off of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Research (VHIR), aimed to develop innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other neurodegenerative diseases of the retina, such as glaucoma. It is the first investment of this venture capital firm in Catalonia and coincides with the recent opening of its branch office in the Barcelona Science Park, its fourth delegation in Spain.

D-Sight has its origin in a research line of more than ten years of track record and incubation within the Diabetes and Metabolism research group at VHIR, associated to the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital. Under an “entrepreneur in residence” model, Carla Maté, CEO of D-Sight, leads the project together with Dr. Rafael Simó and Dr. Cristina Hernández, clinical professionals, and scientific opinion leaders in the field of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, in what is the first entrepreneurial project of VHIR.

The financing of €1 million provided by Clave Capital will allow D-Sight to advance in the first phase of clinical validation of its drug for early-stage diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Its goal is to continue validating it in more advanced stages of clinical development that allow its subsequent commercial license to large pharmaceutical companies.

“Diabetic retinopathy is the most common microvascular complication associated with diabetes, and the leading cause of preventable visual impairment and blindness in the working-age population worldwide. The only treatments available on the market are highly invasive (laser and intravitreal injections), expensive and have a multitude of associated adverse effects. We are therefore facing an unmet medical need on a global scale, for which D-Sight has an innovative, low-cost, non-invasive, safe, and effective solution,” explains D-Sight CEO Carla Maté.

The Clave Capital’s first investment in Catalonia 

D-Sight is Clave Capital’s first investment in Catalonia and coincides with the recent opening of a branch office in the Barcelona Science Park. After offices in Madrid, Valencia and Pamplona, this is Clave Capital’s fourth office in Spain.

At the head of the delegation in Catalonia is Giacomo De Simone, a professional who combines more than 10 years of experience in innovation management and development of new products for the pharmaceutical industry with a solid experience in venture capital as investment manager of Caixa Capital Risc’s Caixa Invierte Start fund. He is also a member of the board of directors of several spin-offs and startups in the health sector, and before joining Clave Capital he worked as head of innovation at VHIR.

“D-Sight is targeting a very large and growing market. There are currently more than 530 million adults worldwide with diabetes, and this number is expected to reach 783 million by 2045. With an estimated global prevalence of 34.6% of diabetic retinopathy in working-age adults, more than 93 million adults are currently suffering from the disease. Due to population ageing and other risk factors, the incidence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, its most common microvascular condition, is also expected to increase significantly in the coming years,” highlights De Simone.

The Clave Innohealth fund, which is regulated by the CNMV, recently reached a first close of around €50 million and will continue to raise funds until it reaches its target size of €65 million. CaixaBank has been mandated to seek investors interested in making commitments to the fund, which targets professional investors such as industrial groups, corporate ventures, funds of funds and family offices.

Currently, the Clave Innohealth fund has obtained commitments from investors such as the CDTI, through its lnnvierte programme, as well as family offices linked to the health sector, pharmaceutical laboratories, financial investors and academic institutions linked to the health sector.

“The Clave Innohealth fund aims to be a reference in the health sector at national level. Our investment model is characterised by the fact that we not only provide money, but we also accompany the companies in our portfolio with knowledge, expertise and contacts, helping them to become leaders in their sector, thanks to our positioning and extensive track record in the market, built around a multidisciplinary team with a long track record in healthtech investments”, states Santiago Lozano, Clave Capital’s fund director.

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