Acousia Therapeutics GmbH is a privately held biotech company based in Tübingen, Germany, dedicated to identify small molecules for an innovative treatment of hearing loss. The new therapeutic approach will replace lost sensory hair cells, the key cells for hearing in the inner ear, by cellular regeneration originating from supporting cells. Acousia will develop drugs for local application, which will restore hearing in patients who have lost their hearing ability due to various reasons, e.g. noise trauma, treatment with ototoxic drugs or sudden deafness. In addition, this therapy will have the potential to treat the age-related decrease in hearing capacity.
Year of investment: 2012; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
AgomAb is a Ghent based Biotech Company, incepted in 2017 by the founder Paolo Michieli, University of Torino. The company has developed a proprietary antibody, which mimics the effect of HGF (Hepatocyte Growth Factor) activating the MET receptor to foster regeneration in fibrosis. HGF is an endogenous, pleiotropic factor that plays a crucial role in tissue regeneration, wound healing, and tissue homeostasis. Its exceptional therapeutic potential has been shown in multiple animal models of regenerative medicine. Within the seed phase, in-vivo proof of concept has been demonstrated in various fibrosis animal models. AgomAb is pursuing an approach that not only resolves fibrosis but also promotes tissue regeneration. Leveraging the Argenx technology, AgomAB has identified and profiled a human IgG-chimeric lama antibody binding to MET with high efficiency.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Johannes Zanzinger
DiogenX specializes in the development of pancreatic beta cell modulators for the treatment of Type 1 (T1D) and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The company’s lead asset is a protein capable of regenerating in vivo a functional pancreatic beta cell mass, potentially offering patients clear benefits in terms of both survival rates and quality of life. DiogenX is based in Marseille, France with labs in Nice. Its asset originated from Dr. Patrick Collombat’s laboratory (Inserm, CNRS, Nice University).
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Johannes Zanzinger
HepaRegenix GmbH, founded in 2016, is a spin-off out of the University of Tübingen (Germany). The pioneering discovery of Prof. Lars Zender, that the inhibition of the MAP kinase kinase MKK4 leads to an overall increased capacity of liver cell regeneration, attracted a very inter-disciplinary team of experienced drug discovery seniors into HepaRegenix. The company develops a small chemical compound for the treatment of acute, chronic and/or acute-on-chronic liver failure. An upside will be the development for NASH as 2nd step, dependent on thorough pre-clinical characterization of the underlying molecular mechanism of action.
Year of investment: 2016; BIVF Board Representative: Johannes Zanzinger
Libra Therapeutics is focused on developing novel disease-modifying therapeutics that can restore the cellular balance disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases. These include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease, which are all characterized by cellular disequilibrium caused by the production and decreased clearance of neurotoxic proteins. The company’s therapeutic platform is uniquely positioned to discover and develop small molecule drugs with distinct molecular approaches that can 1) increase autophagy to more rapidly clear toxic proteins and 2) attenuate the production of neurotoxic proteins.
Year of investment: 2020; BIVF Board Representative: Kanad Das
Headquartered in Singapore, Nuevocor focuses on developing AAV gene therapy vectors bearing therapeutic cargo for the treatment of genetically defined cardiac diseases with high unmet need. Leveraging its novel target discovery platform, and a genetic modifier approach to gene therapy, Nuevocor aims to meaningfully improve the quality of life for patients with presently incurable genetic heart disease.
Year of investment: 2021; BIVF Board Representative: Mia Hu
Promethera Biosciences S.A./N.V.' mission is to develop an allogenic cell therapy approach to treat inborn metabolic liver diseases. The defect of one enzyme can lead to a life-threatening disease with short life expectation and low quality of life. Liver transplantation is often the only treatment option and very much limited due to the scarcity of matching organs and the transplantation risk. Promethera Biosciences addresses this high unmet medical need with their proprietary new progenitor cell type called HepaStem®, consisting of Heterologous human Adult Liver Progenitor Cell (hHALPC), which in pre-clinical experiments has shown the potential to overcome limitations of mature hepatocyte therapy. Promethera is a Belgian company and has started phase I/II clinical studies in March 2012.
Year of investment: 2012; Former BIVF Board Representative: Ilka Wicke (until 2018)
Rewind Therapeutics is developing first-in-class therapies for myelin-related diseases and aims to bring them into fast-track clinical development.
The Company was founded by KU Leuven’s Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) and Axxam S.p.A. (Milano, Italy). Rewind Therapeutics works in close collaboration with both organisations and a world-class academic network to advance its discovery and development activities. Rewind Therapeutics completed a €15.2 million Series A financing in January 2018, which was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, M Ventures BV and the Flemish investment company PMV, together with CD3 and KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fonds.
Year of investment: 2017; BIVF Board Representative: Sebastian Kreuz
RinRi Therapeutics Ltd. was incorporated in November 2018 by Prof. Dr. Marcelo Rivolta and the University of Sheffield. RinRi develops a cellular Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) using pre-determined human embryonic stem cells towards first-in-men trials for implantation into the cochlear of patients suffering from sensorineural hearing loss. RinRi is based in Sheffield, UK.
Year of investment: 2019; BIVF Board Representative: Frank Kalkbrenner
STRM.BIO is a pre-clinical, VC-backed biotechnology company that is leveraging extracellular vesicles (EVs) to deliver gene therapies in vivo. At STRM.BIO, we are developing a better way to deliver gene therapy: simpler, safer, affordable. Our proprietary EV platform is designed to bring treatment directly to the patient, without the complexity and side effects of virus-based, ex-vivo processes – still the most common. And our approach to EVs will make it easier to scale up manufacturing and bring costs down. Our work will lead to new treatments and make existing ones more effective, opening the door to the future of medicine to patients fighting rare diseases worldwide.
Year of investment: 2021; BIVF Board Representative: Fei Shen