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Promethera Biosciences raises funds for liver disease therapies
Promethera Biosciences, (Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium) a cell therapy company operating in the field of liver diseases, has completed an exceptional second round fundraising that generated EUR 23.6 million, including EUR 17 million in capital. Among the new investors are the venture arms of pharmaceutical industry leaders Boehringer Ingelheim and Shire, Japanese investment fund Mitsui Global Investment, US company ATMI and Belgian venture capital fund Sambrinvest. This followed GMP accreditation after successful transfer and scaling up of a production process developed at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) into a larger-scale pharmaceutical operation. The company has been granted authorisations from the respective agencies to start its phase I/II clinical study in Belgium and the UK for its HepaStem cell therapeutic product, which may hold a cure for liver diseases and for repairing severe liver defects. The major innovation of Promethera HepaStem resides in the simplicity of the treatment - a simple injection into the vein leading to the liver – which may make it possible to avoid radical and invasive surgery such as a liver transplant.
The five new investors join lead investor Vesalius Biocapital and others from the first-round funding which raised EUR 5.3 million (October 2009). In addition, the Walloon region, which has backed the project since its inception, has granted a loan of EUR 6.6 million to support the clinical development of the HepaStem product.
"We are delighted at the trust our investors have placed in us and the opportunity to successfully complete this exceptional fundraising drive in the current economic context," comments Eric Halioua, CEO of Promethera Biosciences. "Achieving all our objectives a year ahead of plan, the quality of the team, the attractiveness of the company's business model and the proof of concept obtained in humans have been key factors in our investors' decision."