D-Sight, a Vall d’Hebron spin-off, raises 1 million euros to develop its drug to combat early-stage diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma

The investment will enable D-Sight to progress with the first phase of clinical validation of their drug for early-stage diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.


D-Sight, a recently founded spin-off of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), has received an investment of one million euros from the venture capital fund Clave Capital to develop new innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other neurodegenerative diseases of the retina, such as glaucoma. This operation is the fund’s first investment in Catalonia.

With more than 15 companies established, D-Sight is a pioneering project for VHIR. The organization is committed to promoting innovative talent under an 'entrepreneur in residence' model, led by the company's CEO and co-founder, Carla Maté Goldar. With this model, internal members of the institution offer their professional services to business projects in the start-up phase to accelerate and consolidate their entrepreneurial trajectory. In some cases, such as in Carla Maté, the collaboration culminates in joining the project’s entrepreneurial team.

D-sight’s first business project stems from a research line that has spanned over a decade, incubated within the VHIR Diabetes and Metabolism research group and the Endocrinology and Nutrition Department at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, ranked 20th in the world and the best in Spain for its speciality (according to ‘The World Best Specialized Hospitals 2023’ ranking published in the prestigious Newsweek magazine). Leading this research are the company’s other co-founders, Dr  Rafael Simó and Dr  Cristina Hernández, renowned world opinion leaders in the field of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.

The incidence of diabetes in the global population is steadily increasing. According to Dr Rafael Simó, head of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Department of Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the VHIR Diabetes and Metabolism research group, and co-founder of D-sight, "The ageing population and other risk factors have led to an exponential rise in the incidence of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, its most common microvascular complication, in recent years.”

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common microvascular complication associated with diabetes and the main cause of preventable visual disability and blindness among the working-age population worldwide. As the D-Sight CEO, Carla Maté Goldar, explains, "The only treatments available on the market are highly invasive (laser and intravitreal injections), expensive and have numerous associated adverse effects. We, therefore, face an unmet medical need worldwide, for which D-Sight has an innovative, low-cost, non-invasive, safe and effective solution."

With the funding it has obtained, D-Sight will be able to progress in the first phase of clinical validation for the project, aiming to continue validating it in more advanced clinical development stages, ultimately enabling its marketing licence with major pharmaceutical companies in the sector that market such products. The company’s long-term mission and vision is to research and develop new innovative therapies for treating other retinal diseases in which neurodegeneration plays a key role, such as glaucoma.

Setting up this spin-off represents the first VHIR ‘entrepreneur in residence’ model.

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