Scientific cofounders, Dr. Reza Dana, MD, MSc, MPH and Dr. Sunil Chauhan, DVM, PhD, and Founding CEO Clarke Atwell, MIB, launched Claris Biotherapeutics, licensing intellectual property from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI) and accessing drug substance in an agreement with partner Kringle Pharma.
The foundational intellectual property for Claris was based on the scientific work of Dr. Dana and Dr. Chauhan at the MEEI. From their research on mesenchymal stem cells at MEEI, they identified the potential therapeutic benefits of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in multiple in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo models. Claris Bio has replicated these findings through an independent, third-party laboratory.
Claris’ lead program brings a topical ocular biologic solution of dHGF, a molecule with the potential to restore structural and functional corneal integrity, to eyes with stage 2 and 3 neurotrophic keratitis (NK). Claris raised its Series A funding from Novo Holdings A/S and Mass General Brigham Ventures in April 2020 and RA Capital in July 2021. With these funds, Claris Founding CEO Clarke Atwell, the Claris team, and partner Kringle Pharma facilitated a rapid move of Claris’ lead program from drug substance to a US IND in one year. Currently, Claris is investigating the safety and efficacy of its topical ocular biologic dHGF in a randomized, controlled, double-masked study, CSB-C20-003 (NCT04909450), in patients with stage 2 and 3 NK.