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16/05/2019

Oversubscribed round to bring first products powered by enzymatic DNA synthesis technology to market

Paris, May 16, 2019. Sofinnova Partners, a leading European venture capital firm specialized in the life sciences, today announced that its portfolio company DNA Script, an industry leader in the manufacturing of synthetic nucleic acids using proprietary enzymatic technology, has raised $38.5 million in Series B financing. New shareholders LSP and BPIFrance joined the round, alongside existing shareholders Kurma Partners, Idinvest Partners, Illumina Ventures, and M Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Merck KGaA). Sofinnova Partners was the first institutional investor in DNA Script in 2016.

DNA Script is the world’s leading company in manufacturing synthetic nucleic acids using enzymatic technology. Founded in 2014 in Paris, the company aims to accelerate innovation in life sciences and technology delivering rapid, affordable, and high-quality DNA. Sixty years after the discovery of DNA, DNA Script’s revolutionary approach leverages billions of years of nature’s evolution in synthesizing DNA to enable genome scale synthesis.

The company offers a novel biochemical process for DNA and RNA synthesis, a fundamental tool used in biology research. At a recent academic conference, DNA Script presented its ability to synthesize 200nt of DNA with remarkable accuracy. This innovation may be used in numerous applications, including electronic data storage, by leveraging unprecedented capabilities of the molecule to store information. The fundraising allows DNA Script to further develop its unique enzymatic technology and nucleotide chemistry platform, and deliver the promise of same-day results.

Joško Bobanović, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said: “We are excited that DNA Script, which we have backed from its first round of financing, was able to raise such a significant round. The company continues to deliver on its plan, and is now funded by a group of likeminded investors who support the team’s vision of creating a business that enables new applications for synthetic DNA and RNA in areas including drug discovery and development, agriculture, and industrial and food technologies.”

“Sofinnova Partners has been an excellent partner from a very early stage, just after the inception of our company,” said Thomas Ybert, CEO of DNA Script. “Since then, they have helped us on a daily basis to build DNA Script from the ground up. The team brings a strong expertise in the technology as well as one of the broadest global networks in the industry. Importantly, they also provide unconditional support and coaching to our entrepreneurs – whatever the challenge at hand,” he said.

This new funding reaffirms Sofinnova Partners’ investment strategy in the industrial biotech field, initiated in 2009. As a pioneer in this emerging and rapidly growing sector, Sofinnova Partners has a portfolio of 14 industrial biotech companies, backed through two dedicated funds: Sofinnova Green Seed Fund, which raised €22.5M in 2012, and Sofinnova IB I, which raised €125M in 2017.

About DNA Script
Founded in 2014 in Paris, DNA Script is the world’s leading company in manufacturing de novo synthetic nucleic acids using an enzymatic technology. The company aims to accelerate innovation in life sciences and technology through rapid, affordable and high-quality DNA synthesis. DNA Script’s approach leverages billions of years of natural evolution to enable genome-scale synthesis. The company’s technology has the potential to greatly accelerate the development of new therapeutics, enhanced diagnostics, sustainable chemical production, improved crops and DNA data storage.
www.dnascript.co

About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences. Headquartered in Paris, France, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over Europe, the U.S. and China. The firm focuses on paradigm shifting technologies alongside visionary entrepreneurs. Sofinnova Partners seeks to invest as a lead or cornerstone investor in seed, start-ups, corporate spin-offs and late stage companies. It has backed nearly 500 companies over more than 45 years, creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2 billion under management.
For more information: http://sofinnovapartners.com/.

Press contact for Sofinnova Partners

International
Kate Barrette
RooneyPartners LLC
kbarrette@rooneyco.com

France
Anne Rein
S&I
+ 33 6 03 35 92 05
anne.rein@strategiesimage.com

05/03/2019

Micropep Technologies, a deep tech startup specialized in plant biotechnologies, announces today the appointment of Kevin Smith as non-executive Chairman of its newly created Board of Directors. He will serve on the Board alongside 3 additional former CEOs from well-known plant biotechnology companies: Alain Godard, Eric Rey and Luc Mathis. Following the capital investment of 4 million euros by Sofinnova Partners and Irdi Soridec Gestion in March 2018, Micropep strengthened by 4 international experts has created the best possible conditions for success.
Kevin Smith, a 30 year veteran in international business, is nominated as Chairman of the Board

Created in 2016, Micropep Technologies is a deep tech plant biotechnology startup developing a new generation of crop stimulation and crop protection solutions based on a disruptive technology: “miPEP”, natural plant peptides transiently regulating gene expression.
The company today announces the appointment of Kevin Smith as non-executive Chairman of its newly formed Board of Directors. Kevin is a hands-on multicultural leader with a proven and strong track record in building highly profitable businesses by developing, communicating and aligning multicultural teams around a vision and executing profitable customer solutions growth strategies. Between 2008 and 2014, he led Arysta Lifescience European and EAM businesses as regional CEO, where he doubled profits while building Arysta’s global biologicals solutions portfolio. He is currently Senior Vice President at Houghton International, world number 1 in metalworking fluids. As a world-renowned expert with more than 30 years of experience in management and coaching of executive teams, his role is to fast-track the development of Micropep Technologies.
Kevin says: ‘I am thrilled to join Micropep’s new Board of Directors as non-executive chairman. My ambition is to help this highly innovative and ambitious startup to transform its disruptive and groundbreaking technology into a competitive portfolio of efficient solutions for agriculture. I am proud to offer my experience and leadership skills to support this unique company which lies at the crossroads between plant genetics and crop stimulation and protection solutions.’
Alain Godard, Eric Rey and Luc Mathis join Micropep’s first Board of Directors as independent members
Alongside Kevin’s nomination, the company appointed three other independent board members with incomparable hands-on experience in the Agricultural Biotechnology sector: Alain Godard, former CEO of Aventis CropScience (acquired by Bayer in 2002), Eric Rey, former CEO of Arcadia Bioscience (NASDAQ:RKDA) – a leading company of agricultural traits for heathier products -, and Luc Mathis, former CEO of Calyxt (NASDAQ:CLXT) – a leading company in gene editing for agriculture. Their complementary skills and experience in both plant genetics and crop protection as well as their significative international track-record will support Micropep’s ambition to quickly emerge as a global leading biotechnology company in the agricultural sector.
Micropep’s Board of Directors is further composed of Thomas Laurent, co-founder and CEO, and of the representatives of Sofinnova Partners (Denis Lucquin) and Irdi Soridec (Jean-Michel Petit), the two main investors.
“I am really excited by the broad and unique experience brought to Micropep by each of our board member. I feel lucky to be able to work with 4 former CEOs, each bringing their own set of expertise and skills to help us address all the challenges lying ahead of us. We are working hard on developing an ambitious and truly disruptive technology to help address one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: to develop a both productive and environmentally friendly agriculture, and I am convinced that our board members’ experience will help us progress faster towards this goal” comments Thomas Laurent, CEO of Micropep Technologies.

Biographies

Kevin Smith has over 30 years of experience as managing director of several international companies and as independent consultant in agriculture and specialty chemicals. Formerly CEO of Arysta Lifescience in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, he is today Senior Vice President Houghton International and President EMEA Houghton.
Alain GODARD graduated from the Ecole Nationale Agronomique de Toulouse. He joined Rhône-Poulenc in 1975 where he held various management positions in France and other countries before becoming Managing in 1991, and finally CEO of Aventis CropScience which he left before its acquisition by Bayer in 2001.
Eric REY is the co-founder and former CEO of Arcadia Bioscience, an American company specialized in plant biotechnology, that he managed for 13 years until its IPO onto NASDAQ. Before that, Eric worked as VP of operation at Calgene (acquired by Monsanto) and then as a Partner at Rockridge Group. He brings over 35 years of experience in agricultural biotechnologies.
Luc MATHIS, is the former CEO of Calyxt, a company specialised in plant gene editing based in Minneapolis (US). Luc successfully ran the company for 5 years until 2016, preparing it for a successful IPO on the Nasdaq in 2017. He is, since 2017, Chief Business Officer of Global Bioenergies (Alternext – ALGBE), an industrial biotechnology company developing bio-based alternatives to petro-chemicals, through fermentation.

About Micropep Technologies
Created in 2016, Micropep Technologies develops a disruptive technology based on the discovery of a specific family of natural plant proteins that can transiently regulate gene expression in plant and improve all major plant development processes. Micropep’s ambition is to develop a new generation of crop stimulation and crop protection solution based on this technology to offer farmers a tangible alternative to agrochemicals.

For more information, go to: https://micro-pep.com/
Contacts OXYGEN – Aurélie Mauries / Aurélie Vérin – Tel : +33 (0)5 32 11 07 31 – aurelie@oxygen-rp.com – @aureliemauries

04/03/2019
26/02/2019

New York, US and Vienna, Austria, February 26, 2019 – HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (“HOOKIPA”), a company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics, targeting infectious diseases and cancers based on its proprietary arenavirus platform, today announced that it has completed a $37.4 million (€33.2 million) series D financing.
The investment was led by Redmile Group with participation of additional new investors Invus and Samsara BioCapital, as well as a number of current investors.
The new funding will be primarily used to progress the clinical development of HOOKIPA’s lead development programs, HB-101, a prophylactic cytomegalovirus vaccine candidate, currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial in patients awaiting kidney transplantation as well as HB-201 and HB-202, the Company’s lead oncology product candidates, in development for the treatment of human papillomavirus-positive cancers. In addition, HOOKIPA plans to apply its arenavirus platform to develop additional novel immuno-oncology product candidates.
Joern Aldag, Chief Executive Officer of HOOKIPA said: “We are pleased that this outstanding group of new and current investors supported this financing, which enables us to advance clinical development of our lead development programs. This financing also supports the potential and uniqueness of our novel technology platform and reinforces us in our mission to reprogram the immune system to combat infectious diseases and cancer”.

About HOOKIPA
HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics, targeting infectious diseases and cancers based on its proprietary arenavirus platform that is designed to reprogram the body’s immune system.
HOOKIPA’s proprietary arenavirus-based technologies, VaxWave®*, a replication-deficient viral vector, and TheraT®*, a replication-attenuated viral vector, are designed to induce robust antigen specific CD8+ T cells and pathogen-neutralizing antibodies. Both, VaxWave® and TheraT®, are designed to allow for repeat administration while maintaining an immune response. TheraT® has the potential to induce CD8+ T cell response levels previously not achieved by other published immuno-therapy approaches. HOOKIPA’s “off-the-shelf” viral vectors target dendritic cells in vivo to activate the immune system.
HOOKIPA has successfully completed a Phase 1 trial of a VaxWave®-based prophylactic vaccine to protect against cytomegalovirus infection and has started dosing patients in a Phase 2 trial in cytomegalovirus-negative patients awaiting kidney transplantation from cytomegalovirus-positive donors. To expand its infectious disease portfolio, HOOKIPA has entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to jointly research and develop functional cures for HIV and Hepatitis B infections. HOOKIPA is building a proprietary immuno-oncology pipeline by targeting virally mediated cancer antigens, self-antigens and next-generation antigens.
Find out more about HOOKIPA online at www.hookipapharma.com.
*Registered in Europe; Pending in the US.

HOOKIPA
Nina Waibel
Head of Communications
Nina.Waibel@HookipaPharma.com

Media enquiries
Sue Charles/ Ashley Tapp
Instinctif Partners
Hookipa@Instinctif.com
+44 (0)20 7457 2020

25/02/2019

Our managing partner and chairman, Antoine Papiernik, on @CNBC giving his predictions for what’s next in #biotech: https://cnb.cx/2VgRL3H #venturecapital

18/02/2019

New York, US and Vienna, Austria, February 15, 2019– HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. (“HOOKIPA”), a company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics targeting infectious diseases and cancers based on its proprietary arenavirus platform, today announced the appointment of Michael A. Kelly to the Company’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Kelly is a former senior executive of Amgen, Inc. currently acting as Founder & President of Sentry Hill Partners, LLC., who looks back on more than two decades of executive experience in senior leadership roles in the life sciences industry. Prior to retiring from operational management he held various strategic finance and operations positions at Amgen, including the role of acting CFO of Amgen in 2010 and 2014 and positions at Biogen, Tanox and Monsanto Life Sciences. Throughout his career in pharmaceutical operations,
Mr. Kelly has held a variety of strategic finance leadership roles at the Board and Committee level which have successfully led to transformation, restructuring, and integration in environments of rapid innovation and change.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Michael A. Kelly to HOOKIPA’s Board of Directors. His financial expertise, gained over many years in numerous roles in many highly regarded life science companies will add great value to the governance and the future development of our Company,” said Joern Aldag, HOOKIPA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Kelly is currently a member of the Board of Directors and serves on the Finance Committee for Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization focused on health outcomes and disaster relief. He also previously served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Viewpoint School.

Mr. Kelly holds a BSc in business administration from Florida A&M University, concentrating in Finance & Industrial Relations.

Commenting on his appointment, Michael A. Kelly said: “HOOKIPA has built a strong investor base to fund their convincing and unique pipeline and technology platform. I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and HOOKIPA’s experienced Management Team to further advance the Company’s success.”

About HOOKIPA
HOOKIPA Pharma Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of immunotherapeutics, targeting infectious diseases and cancers based on its proprietary arenavirus platform that is designed to reprogram the body’s immune system.

HOOKIPA’s proprietary arenavirus-based technologies, VaxWave®*, a replication-deficient viral vector, and TheraT®*, a replication-attenuated viral vector, are designed to induce robust antigen specific CD8+ T cells and pathogen-neutralizing antibodies. Both, VaxWave® and TheraT®, are designed to allow for repeat administration while maintaining an immune response. TheraT® has the potential to induce CD8+ T cell response levels previously not achieved by other published immuno-therapy approaches. HOOKIPA’s “off-the-shelf” viral vectors target dendritic cells in vivo to activate the immune system.

HOOKIPA has successfully completed a Phase 1 trial of a VaxWave®-based prophylactic vaccine to protect against cytomegalovirus infection and has started dosing patients in a
Phase 2 trial in cytomegalovirus-negative patients awaiting kidney transplantation from cytomegalovirus-positive donors. To expand its infectious disease portfolio, HOOKIPA has entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to jointly research and develop functional cures for HIV and Hepatitis B infections. HOOKIPA is building a proprietary immuno-oncology pipeline by targeting virally mediated cancer antigens, self-antigens and next-generation antigens.

TheraT® and VaxWave® are not approved anywhere globally and their safety and efficacy have not been established.

Find out more about HOOKIPA online at www.hookipapharma.com.

*Registered in Europe; Pending in the US.

Investors
Alexandria Center for Life Sciences
430 East 29th Street, 14th Floor (cross street 1st Ave and 29th St) New York, NY 10016
St Marx Vienna BioCenter
Helmut-Qualtinger-Gasse 2, 1030 Vienna, Austria
E: office@hookipapharma.com
T: +43 1 890 63 60
F: +43 1 890 63 60 399
Privacy Policy
Legal Notice
© Hookipa Pharma Inc.

12/02/2019

In order to offer industrial firms a reliable alternative to using acids based on oil derivatives, AFYREN has confirmed the production of bio-based organic acids on a pre-industrial scale for use with multiple applications. Today, AFYREN is launching its industrial development phase after securing total financing of 60 million euros, including a 21 million euro capital increase.

Clermont-Ferrand (France), February 12, 2019 – AFYREN, which produces high-value bio-based building blocks to manufacture acids using fermentation technologies, has just completed a 21 million euro round of fundraising, led by Sofinnova Partners and Valquest Partners, bringing on board Supernova, Crédit Agricole Création and Crédit Agricole Centre France alongside its historical shareholders AFY Partners and Sofimac Régions (Sofimac and the Jérémie Innovation 1 and 2 funds). This capital increase is combined with a program to finance AFYREN’s first plant, for which design and development plans are already underway. In line with its established strategy, this 60 million euro financing package will enable AFYREN to take its industrial project forward through to full commercialization.

For Nicolas Sordet, AFYREN’s CEO: “This major financing plan is an outstanding recognition of the exceptional journey undertaken by our teams, who have gradually and successfully completed all the stages of our ambitious project. Today, we possess good pre-industrial phase technology that we have been working on for several years and that has enabled us to deliver test batches to our first customers. Our biobased products are already generating strong interest among leading businesses, and we are moving into the industrialization phase with confidence and enthusiasm”.

AFYREN’s proprietary technology makes it possible to produce organic building blocks, previously obtained almost exclusively from petroleum products, using different types of agro-industry products without competing with the food production chain and without generating waste. Using a circular economy, AFYREN transforms different types of biomass into seven different organic acids. Thanks to the organic acids’ levels of purity and their natural characteristics, AFYREN is able to target markets that require very high standards of quality, from cosmetics to flavors and fragrances, human and animal nutrition, and even fine chemicals.
For Jérémy Pessiot, AFYREN’s founder in charge of the technology: “The relevance of our technology is fundamentally linked to its ability to combine ecology and economic performance. We are firmly committed to providing a 1st class environmental profile, particularly in terms of reducing CO2 emissions, and also competitiveness, enabling industrial customers to replace petroleum-based products with our natural building blocks. This is what our customers require and what our investors appreciate”.

Michael Krel, Principal at Sofinnova Partners, confirmed: “We have been following AFYREN for a long time, and we have been impressed with their achievements over the last 18 months. With this round of financing, AFYREN now has the human and financial resources needed to industrialize its technology”. “This project is an outstanding example of the philosophy behind Sofinnova’s industrial biotechnology funds: enabling entrepreneurs to deliver more sustainable economic solutions to global issues”.

AFYREN will release further details on its financing plan and the setting up of its industrial subsidiary over the coming weeks.

About AFYREN
In order to meet the growing needs of industrial firms to reduce the use of petroleum-based derivatives across their production chains, AFYREN produces bio-molecules, derived from the recovery of non-food biomass, that are widely used in the cosmetics, flavors and fragrances, human and animal nutrition, and fine chemicals sectors. This renewable carbon production, aligned with the circular economy, is achieved using fermentation and downstream proprietary technologies, built up through seven years of research and development.
Founded in 2012 by Régis Nouaille and Jérémy Pessiot, AFYREN has 15 employees at its sites in Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand. AFYREN won the 2030 Worldwide Innovation Challenge in the “plant proteins and plant chemistry” category, and was a French Tech – Green Chemistry ambassador at COP21. AFYREN’s development is being supported by the Auvergne Regional Council, Bpifrance, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). afyren.com

Contacts
AFYREN
Nicolas Sordet, CEO
contact@afyren.com
+33 4 73 86 91 84
Calyptus
Mathieu Calleux / Gregory Bosson
afyren@calyptus.net
+33 1 53 65 68 68

31/01/2019

Paris, January 31st, 2019. Inotrem S.A., a biotechnology company focused on the modulation of the TREM-1 pathway for the management of acute and chronic inflammatory syndromes, announced today the signature of an exclusive license agreement with four major research organizations, under which it receives the exclusive worldwide rights for the biomarker soluble TREM-1 (sTREM-1) in cardiovascular diseases, and in particular acute myocardial infarction. The academic partners are Universities of Paris Sorbonne and of Lorraine, Inserm, and AP-HP.
As of today, Inotrem owns exclusive rights for sTREM-1 in septic shock and cardiovascular diseases. This agreement will enable Inotrem to commercialize or sublicense for these indications any resulting test developed for sTREM-1.
Jean-Jacques Garaud, CEO of Inotrem, comments: “This licensing agreement is an important step towards expanding our TREM-1 franchise from sepsis to cardiovascular diseases and consolidating our unique intellectual property position around the TREM-1 pathway, both from a therapeutic agent and personalized medicine perspective”.
Pr Hafid Ait Oufella, team leader “Immuno-metabolic mechanism of cardiovascular diseases” at Inserm (U970), comments: “This collaboration led to the first demonstration of the implication of TREM-1 in cardiovascular diseases and opens very promising avenues for research and therapeutic development in diseases with huge unmet medical need”.
For Catherine Guillemin, President of SAYENS (ex. SATT Grand Est), who represents the interests of Université de Lorraine in the preparation of this license agreement, comments: “This license agreement has been done thanks to the close collaboration and constructive negotiation between Inserm Transfert and SAYENS, which has undoubtedly enabled an alignment of interests that will be valuable for a long-term relationship with Inotrem”.
Soluble TREM-1 has been shown to be a reliable marker of severity and outcome of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction: high sTREM-1 levels in blood following a heart attack is associated with a three-times higher risk of recurrence of further cardiovascular events or death in the following 2 years (references 1 and 2 below).
Inotrem has recently announced promising Phase IIa results in septic shock that support the company’s approach which uses soluble TREM-1 level in blood as a potential biomarker for the identification of patients who will most likely benefit from treatment by nangibotide, Inotrem lead drug candidate. On top of these promising results in the field of septic shock, sTREM-1 may thus have a strong value as a standalone biomarker for the identification of patients at risk of secondary events following a heart attack.

About Inotrem
Inotrem S.A. is a biotechnology company specialized in for the control of acute inflammatory syndromes, such as septic shock. The company has developed a new concept of immunomodulation that targets the TREM-1 pathway to control unbalanced inflammatory responses. Through its proprietary technology platform, Inotrem has developed the first-in-class TREM-1 inhibitor, nangibotide (LR12), with applications in a number of therapeutic indications such as septic shock and myocardial infarction. In parallel, Inotrem has also launched another program to develop a new therapeutic modality targeting chronic inflammatory diseases. The company was founded in 2013 by Dr. Jean-Jacques Garaud, a former head of research and early development at the Roche Group, Prof. Sébastien Gibot and Dr. Marc Derive. Inotrem is supported by leading European investors — Sofinnova Partners, Andera Partners, Biomed Invest and Inserm Transfert Initiative.
www.inotrem.com

About sTREM-1 and TREM-1 pathway.
TREM-1 pathway is an amplification loop of the immune response that triggers an exuberant and hyperactivated immune state which is known to play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of septic shock and acute myocardial infarction. Soluble TREM-1 (sTREM-1) is a plasma circulating protein with is released upon TREM-1 activation, and is thus a marker of TREM-1 pathway activation.

About Nangibotide
Nangibotide is the formulation of the active ingredient LR12, which is a 12 amino-acid peptide prepared by chemical synthesis. LR12 is a specific TREM-1 inhibitor, acting as a decoy receptor and interfering in the binding of TREM-1 and its ligand. In preclinical septic shock models, nangibotide was able to restore appropriate inflammatory response, vascular function, and improved animals’ survival post septic shock.

References
1- Boufenzer et al, TREM-1 Mediates Inflammatory Injury and Cardiac Remodeling Following Myocardial Infarction. Circulation Research 2015 May 22.
Download at https://www.inotrem.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Boufenzer_Circ-Res-2015.pdf
2- Jeremie Lemarie, Pharmacological inhibition of the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 limits reperfusion injury in a porcine model of myocardial infarction. ESC Heart Failure 2015.
Download at: https://www.inotrem.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Lemarie_2015-ESC_Heart_Failure.pdf

28/01/2019

Marcel Lubben appointed as Synvina’s Managing Director

AMSTERDAM, 27 January 2019 – Avantium has retaken full ownership of its YXY plants-to-plastics technology through the purchase of BASF’s shares in the Synvina joint venture. Avantium has appointed Marcel Lubben as Managing Director of Synvina to lead the commercialization of the YXY technology, effective 1 February 2019.

Avantium has regained the intellectual property, people and assets for YXY and has paid BASF €13.7 million for its equity stake in Synvina, as agreed in the Joint Venture Agreement. A net payment of €3.7 million was made for full ownership of the assets acquired by Synvina in the last two years. Avantium is redefining the path to commercialization for the YXY technology, which it developed to catalytically convert plant-based sugars into FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) and materials such as the new plant-based packaging material PEF (polyethylenefuranoate). PEF can fulfil the demand of leading brands and consumers for next-generation materials that are environmentally friendly and recyclable, and has the potential to be a game changer in the circular economy. Avantium plans to make further announcements on its new strategy to commercialize YXY during the first half of 2019. Experienced chemicals and biotech executive Marcel Lubben is appointed Managing Director of Synvina and will join Victor Vreeken (Chief Op rations Officer) and Willem-Jan Meijer (Financial Director) in Synvina’s leadership team. Lubben worked for 25 years at DSM in various senior business roles, in licensing, corporate venture capital and technology. In his last role, he was president of Reverdia, a joint venture between DSM and Roquette for the production and sale of bio-based succinic acid.

Synvina has become a new business unit of Avantium, alongside the existing Catalysis and Renewable Chemistries business units. Avantium’s renewable chemistry programs include Dawn Technology™, which converts non-food feedstock to industrial sugars and lignin, and the Mekong technology, which transforms sugars into plant-based monoethylene glycol (MEG) used in the production of materials including renewable plastics and polyesters.

Tom van Aken, Chief Executive Officer of Avantium:
“Our belief in YXY and its market potential is rock-solid. Producing FDCA and PEF is a complex innovation process that requires a completely new value chain. I am convinced that the work done so far and the value chain we have built will spur the commercialization of PEF. We have the people, ambition and expertise to bring FDCA and PEF successfully to market, and are very pleased Marcel Lubben will strengthen the team to spearhead this.”

Marcel Lubben, new Managing Director of Synvina:
“Green, innovative materials are essential elements in the global transition to a circular economy. I have been following the progress on YXY for several years and am impressed by how it has been built out to a platform for unique materials with significant performance benefits. I am delighted to assume leadership of this Avantium business unit and bring this important technology to market.”

About Avantium
Avantium is a leading chemical technology development company and a forerunner in renewable chemistry. We develop technologies that enable production of sustainable products from plant-based raw materials. We work in partnership with like-minded companies around the globe to create revolutionary renewable chemistry solutions from invention to commercial scale. We also help clients in catalytic research by providing proprietary systems and services to improve their products and processes. Avantium’s shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam and Euronext Brussels (symbol: AVTX). Our offices and headquarters are in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

For more information:
Caroline van Reedt Dortland, Director Communications, Avantium
+31-20-586-0110 / +31-6-1340-0179
caroline.vanreedt-dortland@avantium.com

 

Summary Curriculum Vitae – Marcel Lubben

Previous positions
Jan 2014 to date: President at Reverdia (JV of DSM with Roquette)
Aug 2012 – Dec 2013: Vice President Bio-based Chemicals & Materials at DSM
Jan 2009 – Jul 2012: Vice President at DSM Innovation Center
May 2007 – Dec 2008: Vice President Marketing & Sales at DSM Biologics
April 2004 – April 2007: Head of BD Europe & Asia & Global Licensing Manager at DSM Biologics
Aug 2000 – March 2004: Business Development / Sales Manager at DSM Pharma Chemicals
Dec 1994 – July 2000: Project & Program Manager at DSM Research

Education
1990 – 1994 PhD Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen, Netherlands
1985 – 1990 Major in Chemistry at the University of Groningen, Netherlands

17/01/2019

PARIS, January 17, 2019 – HighLife SAS, a medtech company focused on the development of a unique transcatheter mitral valve replacement (“TMVR”) system to treat patients suffering from mitral regurgitation, announced today it had closed a € 32 million round of equity financing.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to complete the development of the company’s transcatheter transseptal mitral valve implantation program, which includes regulatory approval trials in Europe to obtain the CE mark and a first clinical trial in the U.S. via an Early Feasibility Study (EFS).

The Series B round was co-led by U.S. Venture Partners (“USVP”) and Andera Partners, with Sectoral Asset Management and Jose Calle Gordo, Chairman of the company, joining the round. Sofinnova Partners, which led the Series A round, continues to support the company and participated in this latest round of financing. Bryan Garnier & Co (Paris) acted as private placement agent for this financing.

“I am very pleased to announce the closing of the Series B financing round, which is essential to funding the development program of the company. The funds will support our mid-term strategy with a pivotal trial in Europe and a clinical trial in the U.S.” said Georg Börtlein, HighLife’s CEO and Founder. “We remain committed to bringing the best treatment option for the broadest patient population to market. Over the long term, we want to address any limitation that the field of TMVR faces and we will continue working towards that goal.”

Based in Paris, France, HighLife was founded in 2010 by Mr. Börtlein. Following Sofinnova Partners’ investment in HighLife in 2017, the venture capital firm’s Managing Partner Antoine Papiernik joined HighLife’s Board. In December 2017, Mr. Calle Gordo, most recently CEO of Biosensors and a longtime specialist in cardiovascular devices, was named chairman. In May 2018, Dr. Martin Rothman, interventional cardiologist and retired Chief Medical Officer of Medtronic, joined as CMO and member of the board. USVP will be represented on the board by Casey Tansey, while Andera Partners will be represented by Olivier Litzka.

“HighLife’s creative approach has already generated convincing data in this competitive field of mitral valve replacement. I am confident that the experienced management team will bring this technology to the level where it becomes an undisputed treatment option for mitral valve regurgitation patients,” said Mr. Tansey, General Partner at USVP.

“With our already solid experience in the structural heart field, we are very happy to contribute to and support HighLife. The exceptional level of collective experience brought together with the existing team and the new investors is a favorable omen for HighLife’s success” said Mr. Litzka, partner at Andera Partners.

“Sofinnova is thrilled to continue supporting HighLife through this new financing, which gives the company the means to demonstrate the clinical importance of its transseptal product,” said Mr. Papiernik.

“We are very proud that we could attract highly experienced and internationally recognized investors like USVP, Andera and Sectoral Asset Management. This speaks for the credibility of our development program, management team and the potential of our technology to serve a major yet underserved clinical need,” said Mr Calle Gordo.

HighLife’s technology targets optimal treatment outcomes as it can be delivered transseptally via the femoral vein in a reversible manner, and self-locates inside the native annulus. The transseptal route is the preferred route for both interventionists and patients, as it avoids any surgery.

About HighLife
HighLife SAS was established in 2010 and is headquartered in Paris, France, with offices in Irvine (California). It is focused on the development of a novel transcatheter replacement system for treating mitral regurgitation. The technology aims at a beating heart procedure reducing trauma to the patients.
Caution: The HighLife Transcatheter Mitral Valve is an investigational device and not available for sale.

About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences. Based in Paris, France, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over Europe, the US and China. The firm focuses on paradigm shifting technologies alongside visionary entrepreneurs. Sofinnova Partners seeks to invest as a lead or cornerstone investor in seed, start-ups, corporate spin-offs and late stage companies. It has backed nearly 500 companies over more than 45 years, creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €1.9 billion under management.
For more information: www.sofinnova.fr.

About USVP
U.S. Venture Partners (USVP) is a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, partnering with entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into world-changing companies. USVP has invested in over 400 companies spanning three decades, including: Box, Castlight Health, Check Point Software, Concur, GoPro, Guidewire Software, HotelTonight, Imperva, InsideSales.com, Inspire Medical, Intersect ENT, Omada Health, OncoMed, Prevoty, SanDisk, Sun Microsystems, Trunk Club, Trusteer, Yammer, and Zerto. USVP focuses on early-stage start-ups that transform cybersecurity, enterprise software, consumer mobile and e-commerce, and healthcare. The USVP team consists of former entrepreneurs, technologists, corporate executives, and financial professionals who assist with strategy, scaling, team building, product development, and business development. USVP is based in Menlo Park, California. More information can be found at www.usvp.com.

About Andera Partners
Andera Partners (previously Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners) is a leading investor in minority investments into privately owned companies. The Management Company employs 56 people and has more than €2 billion under management. Its Life Sciences team of 12 professionals brings together deep experience both in the Life Science industry and in private equity and venture capital. The team has raised more than €800 million through its BioDiscovery franchise and is currently investing out of its €345 million BioDiscovery 5 fund, both in biotech and medtech, and all over Europe and the US. For more information, please visit www.anderapartners.com.

About Sectoral Asset Management
Sectoral Asset Management is an established global healthcare specialist. Sectoral leverages its expertise and capabilities to capture significant value creation across both public and private companies. More information about the firm and its track record is available at www.sectoral.com.

For more information, please contact:

HIGHLIFE Contact International Contact France
www.highlifemedical.com
Marion Janic Anne Rein
Tel : +33 (0)1 72 32 21 15 Tel: +1 (212) 223 4017 Tel: +33 6 03 35 92 05
info@highlifemed.com
mjanic@rooneyco.com
anne.rein@strategiesimage.com

17/01/2019

Serial biotech entrepreneur joins leading small molecule tau modulation company

Lausanne, SWITZERLAND and Cambridge, MA, USA, January 17, 2019 – Asceneuron, an emerging leader in the development of orally bioavailable modulators of tau pathology for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, today announces the appointment of Peter Van Vlasselaer as Chair of the Board of Directors.

Peter Van Vlasselaer, PhD has over 20 years executive and entrepreneurial experience in the biotech industry. He was most recently the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ARMO Biosciences, Inc. which shortly after its public offering (Nasdaq: ARMO) was acquired by Eli Lilly. Prior to this, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of iPierian (acquired by BMS), ARRESTO (acquired by Gilead) and AVIDIA (acquired by AMGEN). In addition to founding ARMO, Dr. Van Vlasselaer was the founder of ARRESTO, co-founder of TrueNorth (acquired by Bioverativ) and was a member of the start-up teams of InterMune (ITMN) and Dendreon (DNDN). He currently serves on the boards of BLADE Therapeutics, Comet Therapeutics and RGENIX. Dr. Van Vlasselaer has a degree in Zoology and a PhD in Immunology from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University Medical School and DNAX Research Institute. Dr. Van Vlasselaer has authored several peer reviewed scientific publications and book chapters and he is an inventor on multiple patents.

Dirk Beher, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Asceneuron, commented:
“We are delighted to welcome Peter Van Vlasselaer to the Board. His extensive experience in all aspects of biotechnology, drug and corporate development will be invaluable as the Company progresses its orally-bioavailable tau modifiers through clinical development. With Peter’s addition to the board, our expanded US presence, and commitment to tau, Asceneuron is well positioned to revolutionize the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.”

Peter Van Vlasselaer, new Chairman of Asceneuron, added:
“There is a strong industry and scientific interest in tau approaches to Alzheimer’s disease and orphan tauopathies such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). I believe Asceneuron’s technology represents a significant opportunity in the next generation of drugs that could potentially transform the treatment of PSP and other tau-related neurodegenerative diseases. These disorders have devastating outcomes for patients and their families. I look forward to maximising the potential of these innovative new treatments and support the Company through this important phase of growth.”

Asceneuron’s lead program ASN120290 is a small molecule inhibitor of the enzyme O-GlcNAcase. Based on its unique mechanism of action, ASN120290 has the potential to become a first in class treatment for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and other tau-related dementias.
The company recently announced the appointment of CNS specialist Dr Thomas C. Wessel as Chief Medical Officer. A clinical trial is ongoing with ASN120290 to quantify target engagement in the human brain using positron emission tomography (PET) the results of which will guide dose selection for an efficacy trial in PSP planned for later this year.

For further information, please contact:
Asceneuron
Dirk Beher, CEO
Email: asce-contact@asceneuron.com

Optimum Strategic Communications
Mary Clark, Supriya Mathur
Tel: +44 203 922 0891
Email: asceneuron@optimumcomms.com

About Asceneuron
Asceneuron is an emerging, clinical stage biotech company excelling in the development of orally bioavailable therapeutics for debilitating neurodegenerative disorders with high unmet medical need, such as orphan tauopathies, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The lead program ASN120290, an O-GlcNAcase inhibitor, is being developed for the orphan tauopathy progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Asceneuron has completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase I study to assess the safety and tolerability of single and multiple doses of orally administered ASN120290. Asceneuron is a privately held company financed by a strong syndicate of investors consisting of Sofinnova Partners, M Ventures, SR One, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) and Kurma Partners. For more information, please visit www.asceneuron.com.

About ASN120290
Asceneuron’s lead program ASN120290, an O-GlcNAcase inhibitor, is being developed for the orphan tauopathy progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and was recently granted Orphan Drug Designation by the US FDA for the treatment of PSP. ASN120290 has recently completed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase I study to assess its safety and tolerability of single and multiple doses in healthy young and elderly volunteers. Data from that study were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in Chicago July 22-26, 2018.

About Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
PSP, also known as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome, is a rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disorder. PSP is often misdiagnosed because it is relatively rare and certain symptoms are similar to Parkinson’s disease. However, PSP is much more common than previously believed. Its prevalence is about three to six people per 100,000 individuals. Symptoms generally appear in the 60s-70s but can affect people from the age of 40 onwards. There are currently no treatments available to cure this disease.