Sheffield start-up pioneering treatment to help the deaf hear

A Sheffield start-up is pioneering treatment that could help profoundly deaf people hear again.
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Rinri Therapeutics uses stem cells injected into the inner ear to regenerate damage, restoring hearing levels by around 40 per cent - enough to hear a conversation.

Currently there are no drug treatments, hearing aids or implants for this type of hearing loss.

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This is one of 23 brand new firms featured in our bumper ‘Survey’ supplement - with eight-page ‘Start-Ups Special’ - in The Star on Wednesday January 22.

Rinri founder and chief scientific officer Marcel Rivolta.Rinri founder and chief scientific officer Marcel Rivolta.
Rinri founder and chief scientific officer Marcel Rivolta.

Rinri was launched following investment from a syndicate of venture capital funds last year. It came after research showed stems cells could be used to treat deafness, prompting founder and CSO Marcel Rivolta to seek funding for clinical trials.Chief executive Dr Simon Chandler said: “Rinri is working at the cutting edge of science and medicine, breaking totally new ground.

“Experience is therefore thin on the ground at a global level, but especially in Yorkshire, so our main initial difficulties sit with sourcing this knowledge and understanding how we progress and develop the technology technically, scientifically and clinically.

“It is not like running a typical company where the biggest problem may be being unable to increase sales, in a biotech you effectively stay in the research and development phase for a long period to develop a very valuable asset.

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“That said, we are doing well in meeting our initial milestones, transitioning the technology away from the lab, getting it to clinical quality and towards first human trials.”

Rinri is based at the Innovation Centre, Portobello, in Sheffield city centre.

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