Gimv leads Financing in One of Europe’s Largest Private Rounds for a Preclinical-Stage Biotech

09/12/2013 - 17:45 | Portfolio

Covagen today announced that the company has secured CHF 42 million in a tranched Series B financing with an option to obtain an additional CHF 14 million that would increase the total amount of the financing round to CHF 56 million. This is one of the largest private financing rounds for a preclinical-stage biotech company in Europe. This financing will mainly support the clinical development of Covagen’s lead FynomAb® COVA322, the first clinical candidate generated using Covagen’s proprietary FynomAb platform technology. This bispecific TNF/IL-17A inhibitor for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and other inflammatory diseases has a novel mechanism of action not accessible with monoclonal antibodies. COVA322 is expected to enter clinical trials in early 2014.

In addition, the proceeds from the Series B financing will further advance Covagen’s diverse discovery programs in oncology. Current research is focused on the generation of bi- and trispecific FynomAb drug candidates with tailored architectures and novel modes-of-action in the fields of CD3 therapeutics, immunomodulation and bispecific antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

The financing is led by new investor Gimv with CHF 8.3 million and includes the participation of new investor Ascent Biomedical Ventures and existing investors Novartis Venture Fund, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, Seroba Kernel Life Sciences, Ventech and MP Healthcare Venture Management, Inc. In conjunction with the financing, Dr. Karl Naegler, Partner Health & Care at Gimv, and Avi Kometz, M.D., partner at Ascent Biomedical Ventures, have joined the board of directors. “Gimv is delighted to lead this round of financing as we believe that Covagen’s capabilities and Fynomer® technology will enable the development of differentiated bispecific therapeutics, FynomAbs, with novel modes-of-action and enhanced efficacy,” said Dr. Karl Naegler, partner at Gimv.

“Over the past years, Gimv has developed a strong expertise and network in the biotech sector and specifically in the area of next generation biologics. Our Health & Care team clearly sees the strong market potential for FynomAbs in many different indications, which we expect will be realized through Covagen’s own pipeline development as well as collaborations with biotech and pharmaceutical companies.”

Julian Bertschinger, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Covagen, added, “Securing this major investment demonstrates the enthusiasm of our investors and their confidence in Covagen’s FynomAb platform. This financing will allow us to advance our lead product, COVA322, through proof-of-concept studies and support our collaborative relationships. We also would like to welcome Karl and Avi to our board of directors.” Previously, the company had raised a total of CHF 14 million.

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