Restoring blood clotting in patients using anticoagulants
- Seed funding from lead investor BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and regional development agency InnovationQuarter
- Leading compound addresses high unmet need for effective prevention and treatment of severe bleeding in patients taking factor Xa inhibitors
- Product development based on R&D performed by one of the world’s leading groups in hemostasis and thrombosis at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), led by professor Pieter Reitsma
- Groundbreaking approach will be published in Nature Communications
Leiden, The Netherlands, 27 June 2017 – VarmX, a Dutch, Leiden based biotech company focusing on the development of therapies in the field of hemostasis and thrombosis, today announced the final closing of its seed financing round. New participants providing this seed capital are Dutch VC BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and regional economic development agency InnovationQuarter. The funds will enable VarmX to advance its lead compound PseudoXa, a modified factor X as a safe and effective factor Xa inhibitor reversal agent.
To avoid spontaneous stroke or vein thrombosis, currently millions of patients in the US routinely take factor Xa inhibitors, also called direct oral anti-coagulants (DOACs), such as apixaban, edoxaban or rivaroxaban. There is a significant unmet medical need, as no effective treatment is available for patients experiencing severe (internal) bleeding or requiring emergency surgery. Due to the increasing use of factor Xa inhibitors for anti-coagulation, the global market for this compound is growing rapidly.
With their investments, BGV and InnovationQuarter enable the company to speed up the development of the compound, particularly setting up the manufacturing process. Previously VarmX received a pre-seed investment from Leiden University and UNIIQ, the early-stage proof-of-concept investment fund for the South-Holland province.
Pieter Reitsma, Professor emeritus of Molecular and Experimental Medicine at LUMC and CSO of VarmX explains: “Innovative research into the properties of a snake venom provided the scientific basis for the factor Xa reversal agent. This is exemplary of the translation of basic research into a potential life-saving therapy.”
Francis Quint, Head InnovationQuarter Capital, states: “We are very pleased to invest in a LUMC spin off taking a promising research program conducted in Leiden onto the global stage of pharmaceutical development.”
“We believe the product is based on very elegant science in an area of significant and growing unmet need: unstoppable bleeding in an increasing patient population. It fits very well with our funds’ focus on truly innovative products that have the potential to positively impact patient care” comments Oskar Slotboom, partner at BGV and chairman of VarmX.
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VarmX is a pharmaceutical spin-off from the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), founded in 2016 by professor Pieter Reitsma. He is a world leading expert in hemostasis and thrombosis. The company’s leading product in development, PseudoXa, is a new therapeutic protein to stop acute bleeding in patients taking factor Xa inhibitors, such as the commonly used apixaban.
About BioGeneration Ventures (BGV)
BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) is a specialist life sciences venture capital firm, with a focus on early stage European biotech, medtech, and diagnostics companies. BGV has a strong track record of significant financial returns through investing in innovations in healthcare and providing the expertise to build world-class teams. BGV manages funds investing in areas where the science, the unmet medical need, and the potential to promptly demonstrate a significant proof of concept all come together.
Successful investments include divestment of Dezima Pharma to Amgen for up to USD 1.55 billion in total deal value and in Acerta Pharma for up to USD 7 billion with a guaranteed payment of USD 4 billion. In both companies BGV was founding investor. The Acerta Pharma sale was the largest exit ever of a privately held European biotech company. Over the last decade BGV has made over 20 investments.
BGV is based in Naarden, The Netherlands, and closely collaborates with Forbion Capital Partners.
InnovationQuarter is the regional development agency for West Holland. InnovationQuarter finances innovative and fast-growing companies, assists international companies in establishing their businesses in West Holland, and facilitates (international) collaboration between innovative entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and government. In this way, and in cooperation with the business community, InnovationQuarter supports the development of West Holland to become one of the most innovative regions in Europe.
The InnovationQuarter investment fund – which currently consists of € 80 million committed capital – offers venture capital to young technology companies and SMEs with growth plans in the region to bring new innovations to market. Through the fund, InnovationQuarter can raise the regional economy to a higher level.
InnovationQuarter is an initiative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Province of South Holland, the Cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Delft, Drechtsteden, Westland and Zoetermeer, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Leiden University, the Leiden University Medical Center and Erasmus Medical Centre and Foundation HEID (Holding Fund for Economic Investment The Hague).
For further information:
Prof. Pieter Reitsma
LifeSpring Life Sciences Communication, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 6 538 16 427