Ghent, Belgium - ActoGeniX NV, a recently founded biopharmaceutical company, announced the successful closing of its Series A financing round, raising €11.5 million (~US$15 million) from a syndicate of leading life sciences investors. The transaction was co-led by GIMV (Antwerp, Belgium) and Life Sciences Partners (LSP, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), with Biotech Fund Flanders also participating. ActoGeniX is a spin-off from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) and Ghent University and was founded last June with seed capital from GIMV, VIB and individuals of the management team.
This financing will allow ActoGeniX to initiate development of a pipeline of therapeutic products based on its TopActTM technology platform. TopActTM is a proprietary delivery system comprising living non-pathogenic micro-organisms for the oral administration of biopharmaceuticals. VIB and Ghent University, the original inventors of this technology, transferred to ActoGeniX the TopActTM patent portfolio. ActoGeniX' products will address a broad range of diseases, including gastrointestinal diseases, auto-immunity, allergy and metabolic diseases. The Company's lead product for the treatment of Crohn's disease has already been successfully tested in patients.
Dr. Mark Vaeck, who joined the company as CEO, brings considerable experience in the start-up and growth of biotech businesses in Europe and the USA. In his former position, as the co-founder and CEO of Ablynx NV (Ghent, Belgium) he raised €30 million in equity financing and concluded several corporate deals with major pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Bernard Coulie joins ActoGeniX as Vice President Research & Development coming from Johnson & Johnson Europe where he held the position of Therapeutic Area Leader Internal Medicine. Dr. Lothar Steidler, the principal inventor of the TopAct technology, will become Director Technology Development at ActoGeniX.
Commenting on the financing, Mark Vaeck said: 'I am delighted with the completion of this successful financing round, which provides ActoGeniX from the start with a substantial amount of money from high-quality and knowledgeable biotech investors, which is a clear endorsement of the future potential of this company. ActoGeniX is now well-positioned to execute its ambitious business plan and quickly build a valuable portfolio of preclinical and clinical-stage products based on its proprietary TopAct
'We have built a proprietary position around the TopAct technology and products and we are glad to be able to transfer this platform into the hands of an experienced management team, supported by highly reputed international venture capital funds' said Rudy Dekeyser, vice-general director of VIB. 'We strongly believe that Actogenix will successfully apply this platform to develop innovative therapeutics for the benefit of its shareholders and the benefit of patients worldwide.'
Patrick Van Beneden, Director Life Sciences of GIMV added: 'We see Actogenix as one of the more promising companies that recently have been started here in Flanders. The combination of world class science, experienced management and strong financial backing should be the ingredients for a life sciences company that will develop new medical treatments for large unmet medical needs like Crohn's disease and other gastrointestinal disorders.'
'We see ActoGeniX as an interesting investment opportunity in our home market based on excellent science and with broad applicability of the technology platform,' said Martijn Kleijwegt, Managing Partner of Life Sciences Partners. 'The availability of clinical data, as is the case for ActoGeniX' lead program, is something that is rarely seen in such start-up initiatives. We are excited to be part of this venture and look forward to working with the management team to make this a success.'
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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