Anergis Closes CHF 18 Million Series A Financing Round to develop its Innovative Allergy Vaccines and Expands its Board of Directors
Anergis SA announced today that it has closed a Series A financing round raising CHF 18 millions from European biotech funds and private local investors
The financing round was co-led by three major European funds with extensive biotech experience: Vinci Capital-Renaissance PME (Lausanne, Switzerland), BioMedInvest (managed by BioMedPartners AG, Basel, Switzerland) and Sunstone Capital (Copenhagen, Denmark). The syndicate was also joined by Esperante (Limhamn, Sweden), Initiative Capital Romandie (Lausanne, Switzerland) and by private investors. Up until now, Anergis has invested CHF 3 million in its innovative allergy vaccines. These funds were raised from private investors and from a grant by the Swiss Innovation Fund (CTI).
The newly joining investors also bring substantial pharmaceutical experience and know-how to Anergis: Patrick Scherrer (representing Vinci Capital-Renaissance PME), Markus Hosang (representing BioMedInvest) and Sten Verland (representing Sunstone Capital) have joined the Anergis Board of Directors.
The Board will be chaired by André J. Mueller, a professional with unique executive and non-executive experience in biotech ventures, which he gained with Biogen and Actelion and as the Chairman of the Boards of Cerenis Therapeutics (Toulouse) and Addex Pharmaceuticals (Geneva).
"The proceeds of this financing will cover our financial requirements for the next two years and will allow us to take essential steps for the development of Anergis. In particular, we will now conduct a large Phase II multicenter trial with AllerT, our lead product for patients allergic to birch pollen, and we will speed up the preclinical development of our product portfolio in our new research laboratories," said Vincent Charlon, PhD, CEO of Anergis.
"We see Anergis as a good example of Swiss strengths, bringing together excellent science, an experienced management team, a solid value proposition, a clear execution path and addressing a global unmet medical need," added Patrick Scherrer.
"Anergis has developed a unique technology with the potential to change the treatment paradigm of allergic patients. We look forward to further supporting the developments of the company on a global basis," said Sten Verland.
"This round of financing is an important validation of the potential of Anergis' approach to develop a new generation of synthetic products to better serve the growing allergy market," explained Markus Hosang.
About Vinci Capital-Renaissance PME: Vinci Capital is a leading Swiss private equity firm with over MCHF 200 under management. Since 1998 Vinci Capital has provided equity to over 30 Swiss technology and industrial companies to finance innovation, growth and succession-buyouts. Vinci Capital has an exclusive mandate to manage the funds of Renaissance PME and Mona Lisa AG. Renaissance PME is a foundation dedicated to Swiss pension funds to provide them with a fiscally-optimized and regulated vehicle for direct private-equity investments. Mona Lisa AG is an investment holding funded by Swisscom dedicated to financing innovative Swiss SMEs with high growth potential. For further information please visit www.renaissance-pme.ch and www.vincicapital.ch
About BioMedPartners AG: BioMedPartners AG is an independent healthcare-dedicated investment firm based in Basel, Switzerland, that provides private equity and mezzanine financing to private early- to mid-stage healthcare and life science companies in Switzerland and neighbouring regions (Alpine Rim). BioMedPartners have invested in over 30 companies, several of which have already successfully completed an IPO (Arpida AG, Santhera AG, Evolva Holding AG), or a trade sale (ESBATech AG, Glycart Biotechnology AG). BioMedPartners currently manage three funds (BiomedInvest I & II and BioMedCredit). With total funds of more than CHF 250 million under management and a strong team of experienced specialists and industry experts, BioMedPartners have established themselves as one of the leading early-stage investors in Europe. BioMedPartners currently invest out of their BioMedInvest II LP fund, which has a size of CHF 106 million, and was closed in 2009. (www.biomedvc.com)
About Sunstone Capital: Sunstone Capital is an independent venture capital investor founded in 2007 by an international team of industry experts with more than 200 years of combined entrepreneurial, operational and financial experience. Sunstone Capital focuses on developing and expanding early-stage Life Science and Technology companies with strong potential to achieve global success in their markets. Sunstone Capital has invested in more than 47 companies and has completed several successful exits and IPOs. Sunstone Capital currently manages two technology funds and three life science funds. With total funds of 500 million Euro under management, Sunstone Capital is one of the largest Nordic-based venture capital investors. (www.sunstonecapital.com)
About Esperante: Esperante is a privately-held Netherlands and Sweden-based venture investment company focussed on investing into therapeutics and diagnostics development companies in late preclinical or clinical development phase in Europe or North America. Esperante currently has 12 portfolio companies in addition to Anergis, the remainder being in the US (Arno and Cara), UK (Altacor, Canbex, Immune Targeting Systems, Karus, Novacta, Theryte and Vantia) and France (Endocells and Pharmaxon). (www.esperanteventures.com)
About Initiative Capital Romandie (ICR): ICR is a Swiss venture capital fund, managed by DEFI Gestion SA, a Lausanne based private equity funds advisor. ICR has been founded in 2006 by four partners (Retraites Populaires Vie, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Centre Patronal and Etablissement Cantonal d'Assurance). ICR supports high-tech starts-ups based in the French speaking part of Switzerland (www.defigestion.ch).
Anergis SA is a Swiss-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery and development of novel allergy vaccines targeting the most frequent allergies. Allergies are the most prevalent and the fastest growing chronic conditions in the industrialized world with over 300 million people affected. While short-term symptomatic treatments of allergy need to be prescribed continuously, the only curative therapy of allergy, known as "desensitization" or "Specific Immunotherapy" (SIT), is a process of induction of tolerance to the allergen that today requires 3-5 years of treatment and poses the risk of serious side effects. Based on its proprietary Contiguous Overlapping Peptides ("COPs") technology, which Anergis acquired from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (UNIL), the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), the company is developing innovative SIT products containing so-called COPs that reproduce the full amino acid sequence of the allergen in separate long peptidic molecules. Anergis COPs do not cross-react with IgE, the antibody class responsible for eliciting allergic hypersensitivity. Thus, COPs can safely be administered at high doses to induce tolerance to the allergen after few injections only. Studies of COPs targeting bee venom and birch pollen allergies in both animals and humans have demonstrated excellent safety (no immediate allergic reaction) and immunogenicity (production of specific antibodies and cytokines against the original allergen) of Anergis products.