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
Anagenesis Biotechnologies is a Strasbourg based Biotech company, operational since 2014. Anagenesis is a preclinical‐stage company focused on developing novel treatments for genetic and age-related muscle degenerative diseases. They own a proprietary platform technology, to guide the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) into Paraxial Mesoderm Multipotent Cells (P2MCs), which are the shared precursors of various tissues, such as skeletal muscle, ribs, vertebrae, dermis, endothelium & brown fat. The method originated in the lab of Olivier Pourquié, a world expert in the field of stem cells and muscle development. Based on P2MC progenitor cells, the company has developed proprietary know how, to mimic the natural process of muscle formation (myogenesis) and has set up a high throughput screening assay to identify compounds activating the P2MC cells to generate skeletal muscle tissue. A second indication focus of Anagenesis is the differentiation of P2MC`s to generate Brown Adipocyte Tissue (BAT), as a potential treatment for metabolic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity.
Year of investment: 2019; IVF Board Representative: Ilka Wicke
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: Martin Heidecker
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
Sentien Biotechnologies, Inc. is a preclinical stage company developing novel approaches to cell therapy. The lead product utilizes dialysis as a drug delivery system to administer the therapeutic factors secreted from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which dynamically secrete factors to modulate inflammation, prevent epithelial cell death, and promote regeneration. As applied to their first indication of severe Acute Kidney Injury, (AKI), this lead product integrates seamlessly with existing standard of care, transforming dialysis from a passive, last resort option into an active therapy that can reverse the course of disease. This approach can rapidly extend into other disease where extracorporeal support is indicated, such as Acute Liver Failure, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, and Chronic Kidney Disease. Sentien is based in Medford, MA.
Year of investment: 2015; BIVF Board Representative: Martin Heidecker