Arc Universities

Beacon Therapeutics, a pioneering new biotech company, has launched with a mission to restore and improve the vision of patients with retinal diseases. The company is one of the most ambitious spinouts the University has been involved in to date, starting out with an impressive £96 million ($118.5m) in funding, the biggest launch for any company including an Oxford spin-out programme.

At the heart of Beacon’s mission is Professor Robert MacLaren, a distinguished academic leader in the world of ophthalmology and co-founder of Beacon Therapeutics. For the past ten years, Professor MacLaren has tirelessly explored the application of gene and cell therapies to combat sight loss across various complex conditions, including macular degeneration, a condition which affects an estimated 1 in 200 people in the UK by the age of 60. MacLaren’s ground-breaking work, emanating from the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), laid the foundation for Beacon Therapeutics.

The launch of Beacon Therapeutics represents one of the largest biotech launches in recent UK memory. With strong links to the University of Oxford and the unprecedented support of investors such as Syncona and Oxford Science Enterprises, Beacon Therapeutics is poised to revolutionise the field of ophthalmology.

Professor Irene Tracey, Vice Chancellor at The University of Oxford, said:

‘Beacon Therapeutics represents the culmination of years of dedication from Robert, his colleagues within the University, the visionaries at Nightstar, and supporters ranging from the NIHR BRC through to Syncona. Beacon Therapeutics will push the boundaries of gene therapy and provide hope to those affected by blindness.’

Read more here.

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