Yesterday, Vensica Therapeutics, an Israeli clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced the closure of a $19 million investment round led by Israel Biotech Fund (IBF) with the participation of Laborie, Lew Pell, Agriline, and The Trendlines Group. Merz Therapeutics (under the Merz Group), a leader in the field of neurotoxins who went into a strategic collaboration agreement with Vensica in 2021, invested a total of $3 million during this round.

Take the pain away

40 million Americans suffer from an overactive bladder, with incontinence (also known as wet episodes) being the most bothersome symptom. There is a huge unmet need in the medical industry to solve these issues. Patients are often not happy with the oral drugs to treat such conditions because they have low efficacy and bad side effects, but are also hesitant to the other treatments available, for they usually require some sort of surgery. Today’s standard treatment for overactive bladders requires needle injections of the neurotoxin into the bladder wall. Unfortunately, this is a complicated procedure, and generally results in pain and urinary retention; needle injections of the toxin can result in about 20% urinary infections and 6% retention. Of course, infections are dangerous and can be extremely uncomfortable, but retention is an even more cumbersome outcome because it leads to the bladder becoming non-functional for a few weeks.

Vensica is an Israeli-based urology therapeutics company that is establishing a urology treatment platform to treat bladder indications. Their goal is to develop a less invasive treatment of bladder diseases than what is currently available on the market. Vensica is developing a unique platform for drug delivery for several urinary bladder indications, based on an ultrasound-assisted drug delivery system. Essentially, they use therapeutic ultrasound to deliver botulinum toxin A to the bladder to treat urological indications, including overactive bladder, neurogenic bladder, and interstitial cystitis. With their technology, they are eliminating the need for needle-drug delivery and are thereby unlocking the potential of neurotoxins in urology but in a minimally invasive manner.

Vensica’s platform is anticipated to facilitate more efficacious treatment through a more uniform delivery of the neurotoxin to the bladder wall. Their needle-free platform is also expected to enable a far superior patient experience as it resolves needle-associated issues including pain, and urinary retention, while also making the complicated procedure generally easier to execute.

“Vensica provides a simple treatment which transitions treatment from a surgical setting to that of a private clinic. Not only do we expect our product to reduce infections and retention, but we simplify the procedure for the urologist. The procedure is very ‘physician friendly’ as it uses disposable devices, whereas currently, urologists use a non-disposable cystoscope that requires sterilization and large capital equipment.” Avner Geva, founder and CEO

The funds raised in this round will support the company’s phase II multicenter clinical trials in Europe and the United States. Vensica is expanding its workforce in Israel for the next stage in clinical and regulatory development of its device which is focusing on overactive bladder treatment.

The company was founded in 2015 by Avner Geva and is led and backed by medical and therapeutics leaders, including Nissim Darvish, Michael Ingber, Lew Pell, Laborie, Merz Pharmaceuticals, The Trendlines Group, and The Israel Innovation Authority. They have raised a total of $25 million to date.