Abexxa Biologics, Inc. is a research-stage bio-pharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing breakthrough antibody-based drugs to its proprietary class of targets designed to revolutionize cancer treatments by providing highly effective targeted therapies. The foundation of the company’s technology is based on more than 25 years’ experience in novel immunotherapy research. Abexxa is based in Arlington, TX. Abexxa was acquired in 2021 by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Year of investment: 2016; BIVF Board Representative: Fei Shen
The company pioneers a novel modality in drug development to develop a complete new class of antibiotics and first in class therapeutics against high value typical undruggable human targets. The technology, branded Pept-insTM, harnesses the power of protein aggregation to specifically induce a functional knockdown of a target protein. Aelin Therapeutics was founded by VIB and its partner universities KU Leuven, VUB, UGent, based on the ground-breaking work of renowned structural biologists Prof Joost Schymkowitz and Prof Frederic Rousseau. Aelin Therapeutics raised €27 million in a Series A financing round in December 2017 with a strong investor syndicate including LSP (the Netherlands), PMV (Belgium), Novartis Venture Fund (Switzerland), Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (Germany) and Fund+ (Belgium).
Year of investment: 2017; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
Amal Therapeutics SA is a Swiss biotech start-up company and spin-off from the University of Geneva. Amal Therapeutics was incorporated on September 3rd, 2012. Amal uses its proprietary cell penetrating peptide platform to develop and progress therapeutic vaccines in oncology. The unique properties of this platform are its capacity to stimulate a potent integrated and multi-epitopic cellular immune response targeting cancer cells. Innovative antigen design incorporating antigen presenting cell activating and maturation signals will be the basis for a highly innovative and effective protein based cancer vaccine approach. Amal Therapeutics was acquired in 2019 by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Year of investment: 2014; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
ArmaGen Technologies, Inc. is a developer of platform technology solutions to the blood-brain barrier problems. ArmaGen develops recombinant protein therapeutics targeting diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), which are engineered to penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Its molecular trojan horse technology has the potential to re-engineer recombinant proteins for BBB penetration for the treatment of brain and spinal cord diseases. Initially, the company will focus on orphan diseases of the CNS with lead biopharmaceuticals for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) Type I, or Hurler’s syndrome and MPS Type II, or Hunter’s disease. ArmaGen is based in Calabasas/US.
Year of investment: 2012; BIVF Board Representative: Martin Heidecker
Hookipa Pharma, Inc. is developing a new class of innovative prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines based on its proprietary Vaxwave® technology. The Vaxwave® technology is a novel vaccine platform using a replication-defective viral vector based on arena virus for the prevention and treatment of multiple infectious diseases and cancer. The platform is one of the most promising new technologies for next generation vaccines due to its ability to stimulate both potent B-cell and CD8+ T-cell immune responses. Vaxwave® vaccines can be administered repeatedly to boost the immune system. The lead program is prevention of CMV infection in patients receiving a solid organ transplantation (currently tested in Phase II). Hookipa is based in New York, NY and Vienna, Austria.
Year of investment: 2013; Former BIVF Board Representative: Martin Heidecker (until 2019)
ICD Therapeutics, a spin-out of nanoPET Pharma GmbH in Berlin developed an innovative MacroDel™ biologics-delivery platform. Tree-like highly branched molecules known as dendrimers form a fundamental component of the MacroDel™ platform. After coupling the biologic, the resulting compound selectively interacts with transporter proteins known to be highly expressed on tumor cell wall membranes. These transporters shuttle the compound directly into the cytoplasm of the cell. The medicinal cargo is then in position to disrupt the disease process in a precise manner at a molecular level. ICD Therapeutics was acquired in 2019 by Boehringer Ingelheim and will employ this platform for the development of novel precision medicine biologics from the company’s cancer pipeline in collaboration with nanoPET Pharma.
Year of investment: 2017; BIVF Board Representative: Marcus Kostka
Okairos AG is a clinical stage vaccine company. Its technology platform is based on genetic vaccines delivered by replication-incompetent adenovirus vectors. Such vaccines induce a strong T-cell immune response which has the potential to prevent or treat a range of diseases that currently escape the immune system, such as mutating infectious diseases and cancer. Company has entered clinical stage with programs for malaria and hepatitis C. Okairos is a Swiss based company with laboratories in Italy. Okairos was acquired in May 2013 by GSK.
Year of investment: 2010; BIVF Board Representative: Knut Elbers
NBE Therapeutics GmbH is a Basel, Switzerland, based privately held biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of innovative antibody based drugs, with an initial focus on the development of "next-generation" antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). NBE Therapeutics has developed potent antibody discovery and specific drug conjugation technologies which will allow NBE Therapeutics to efficiently develop First- and Best-In-Class product candidates to fight cancer.
Year of investment: 2013; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
Rigontec GmbH develops RNA-based proprietary retinoic acid–inducible gene I (RIG-I) activators for the treatment of cancer. The company was launched in 2014 as a spin-out from the Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology of the University Hospital in Bonn and is based in Bonn, Germany. The optimized RIG-I agonist selectively induces apoptosis in cancer cells and as a self-vaccination approach targets efficiently various solid cancer. Rigontec was acquired in 2017 by Merck.
Year of investment: 2014; BIVF Board Representative: Marcus Kostka
STAT Dx was founded in 2010 in Barcelona (Spain) and is focused on the development of Near Patient Testing solutions where fast and accurate diagnostic results are needed. Its DiagCORE in vitro diagnostic system is a versatile, easy-to-use platform that consolidates molecular and immunoassay techniques in a single device. STAT Dx was acquired in 2018 by Qiagen.
Year of investment: 2013; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
Tilos Therapeutics, Inc. is using the power of the immune system to develop new treatments for cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune disease. Tilos is developing antibody therapeutics that target key immunological pathways, with a primary focus on regulatory T cells and regulation of effector cells. The company's initial work is on antibodies specific for Latency Associated Peptide of TGF beta. Tilos was founded in 2016 and is based in Cambridge, MA. In 2019 Tilos Therapeutics was acquired by MSD.
Year of investment: 2016; BIVF Board Representative: Martin Heidecker
ViraTherapeutics GmbH was formed as a spin-off out of the Medical University of Innsbruck (Austria) in April 2013. ViraTherapeutics develops a pseudotyped Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV-GP) for the use in oncolytic virotherapy. By pseudotyping with the G envelope protein of LCMV, VSV-GP displays no neurotropism, but full oncolytic potential for repeated and systemic administration - without inducing neutralizing auto-drug-antibodies (ADAs). These properties allow an effective in situ vaccination via selective tumor cell lysis and efficient initiation of systemic anti-tumor immune response. ViraTherapeutics is currently performing preclinical safety and efficacy studies for VSV-GP, and aims to conduct first clinical testing in cancer patients in 2017. ViraTherapeutics was acquired in 2018 by Boehringer Ingelheim.
Year of investment: 2015; BIVF Board Representative: Detlev Mennerich