MONACO, PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO, July 14, 2020: 3B Future Health Fund, previously known as Helsinn Investment Fund S.A., SICAR, today announces that it has invested in iOnctura SA, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of next generation molecules targeting cancer and fibrosis. iOnctura has raised an additional EUR 5.1 million bringing iOnctura’s total Series A financing to EUR 20.1 million. 3B Future Health Fund joins the existing blue-chip investor syndicate of M Ventures, INKEF Capital, VI Partners, and Schroder Adveq, which all participated in the extension.
The funding will enable iOnctura to accelerate development of its next generation dual immune and tumour targeting therapies. Data emerging from early clinical evaluation of its lead molecule IOA-244, a highly selective PI3Kδ-inhibitor, in solid tumours is expected to enable progress into a Phase Ib trial earlier than anticipated and preclinical development of its second program, IOA-289, an ATX-inhibitor with dual utility in organ specific and cancer associated fibrosis, will be expedited into human testing in early 2021. iOnctura has recently strengthened its team with the appointment of Dr. Joanna Horobin as Chair. Joanna is an accomplished drug developer and biotech leader with over 35 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech sector in Europe and the US.
Riccardo Braglia, 3B Future Health Fund Chairman and Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We look to invest in early-stage companies which are developing novel treatments in areas of high unmet patient need. We have been very impressed with the world class team at iOnctura and the potential of its next generation molecules targeting cancer and fibrosis.”
Catherine Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of iOnctura, said: “I am pleased to welcome 3B Future Health Fund to our strong investor syndicate. This oversubscribed Series A round provides further validation and support of our strategy as we progress our novel, highly selective, PI3Kδ inhibitor and our differentiated ATX inhibitor through clinical development.”
iOnctura SA, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, was founded in June 2017 as a spin out from Merck and seed funded by M Ventures. It is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of next generation, differentiated molecules that are at the forefront of pioneering new therapies for the treatment of cancer. Each of iOnctura’s programmes harness the combined effect of immune-mediated and direct anti-tumour activity and aim to deliver molecules with superior clinical efficacy and safety in oncology.
The company’s lead programme, IOA-244, entered the clinic in Q1 2020. The study is aimed to clinically demonstrate for the first time that a highly selective PI3Kδ inhibition not only drives an immune-mediated response but also a direct anti-tumoural effect in a stratified patient population across multiple solid tumour indications. The company’s second molecule is a novel autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor at IND stage for patients with solid tumours burdened with cancer-associated fibrosis. For more information, please visit www.ionctura.com.
M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the company’s core business areas. From its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors to translate innovation towards commercial success. M Ventures has a significant focus on early stage investing and company creation, including the creation of spin-offs to leverage the company’s science and technology base. For more information, visit www.m-ventures.com.
INKEF Capital is a venture capital firm based in Amsterdam, backing promising early stage companies in Europe. INKEF takes pride in being a patient, long-term investor with the ability to support companies through several rounds of funding. From the early stages of being a technology or life science venture, INKEF Capital supports entrepreneurs building their ideas into successful international businesses. For more information www.inkefcapital.com.
Venture Incubator is unique evergreen fund that had been created by McKinsey & Company and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) in 2000. Ten of Switzerland’s leading global corporations backed the project both financially and with active engagement. The mission is a blend of stimulating and cultivating Switzerland’s start-up ecosystem as well as creating successful companies that would benefit Switzerland. We partner with start-up management teams as constructive Board members, with our syndicate partners to source the most promising opportunities and ensure their success, with our corporate shareholders who recognize the strategic importance of knowing what lies on the horizon.
Founded in 1997, Schroder Adveq Management AG (“Schroder Adveq”) is a leading asset manager investing in private equity globally. It offers specialised investment solutions, which allow Schroder Adveq’s clients to access private equity investments globally through primary, secondary and co-investments. Schroder Adveq has investment programs focused on the US since 1997, Europe since 1998 and Asia since 2006.
3B Future Health Fund is focused on investments in areas of high unmet patient need. Backed by the Helsinn Group, and guided by Helsinn’s core values of quality, integrity and respect, 3B Future Health Fund aims to help companies with innovative technologies to transform new ideas into commercial solutions with the potential to impact health-related quality of life of patients. Drawing on Helsinn’s over 40 years of investment into research and development and commercial expertise, the investment fund selects companies with technologies in a range of areas including cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, cancer supportive care, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, and dermatology conditions.
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