With antibodies to better cancer therapies

Biotech against tumors

With the active ingredient in Catalym, cancer therapies should have a better impact.

Frankfurt The biotech company Catalym from Martinsried near Munich has raised a total of 50 million euros in a Series C financing round. The money is to flow into further clinical testing of the drug candidate Visugromab against cancer.

The drug is currently being tested in several phase two studies against various types of tumors. Drugs must successfully pass through three clinical phases before an application for approval can be submitted.

Visugromab is a monoclonal antibody. It is said to neutralize a specific protein that tumors use to protect themselves from the body’s own immune system. For this reason, currently available cancer therapies often do not work as desired. By neutralizing the protein GDF-15, Visugromab should ensure that therapies can achieve better results.

Catalym’s funding round was oversubscribed, according to the company. It was led by two new investors, Brandon Capital and Jeito Capital. The existing shareholders also went along – including the venture capitalists Forbion, Novartis Venture Fonds, Vesalius Biocapital III and Bayern Capital.

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Lead investor Brandon Capital is Australia’s leading life science venture capitalist. For Jeito Capital, the second leading investor in the current round, it is the first investment in Germany. The Paris-based company says it aims to support promising biopharmaceutical companies in Europe and accelerate their development. Jeito set up a fund worth 534 million euros for this purpose last year.

The CEO is an experienced pharmaceutical manager

Catalym is a spin-off from the University of Würzburg. A team led by tumor researcher Jörg Wischhusen developed the scientific results for founding the company. In 2016, the company received its first so-called seed financing. With Series A financing from venture capitalists Forbion Capital Partners and BioGeneration, the company then moved from Würzburg to the Biotechnology Innovation and Start-Up Center in Martinsried in 2018.

Catalym is now led by an experienced management team. Since May last year, the CEO has been Phil L’Huillier, who has already worked in the pharmaceutical industry for two decades – including at the pharmaceutical company MSD (Merck & Co. in the USA). Wischhusen, who co-founded Catalym, is now on Catalym’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and still holds a small stake in the company.

More: These could be the biontechs of tomorrow – five German biotech hopes of investors.

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