ARTHEx Biotech S.L., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing innovative medicines through the modulation of microRNAs announced the closing of its €42 million Series B financing round led by Columbus Venture Partners, with participation from new investors, the European Innovation Council (EIC) fund, Hadean Ventures, and Sound Bioventures. Existing investors Invivo Capital, AdBio Partners, and the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) through its Innvierte program, also participated in the financing.
The Series B proceeds will be used to advance its lead compound, ATX-01, an antimiR designed to target microRNA 23b (miR-23b), to a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for the treatment of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1 (DM1). miR-23b is known to be associated with regulating the expression of MBNL protein involved in the pathogenesis of DM1, a devastating, rare neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness and other life-limiting complications. There are currently no disease-modifying treatments for DM1, which affects at least 40,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 in Europe.
In connection with the financing, ARTHEx’s present Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Frédéric Legros, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer.
“I am excited to lead ARTHEx Biotech with our accomplished executive team, board of directors and investor syndicate, who share our commitment to developing innovative medicines for debilitating diseases. This will be a pivotal year as we prepare to initiate our Phase I/IIa ArthemiR™ study of lead compound ATX-01 for DM1, in the second half of 2023,” said Dr. Legros. “We believe that the market opportunity for a novel DM1 therapy is very attractive, given the limited number of companies in the clinic and the lack of an approved therapeutic agent.”
“This financing enables us to translate the Company’s foundational scientific work into the clinic, and we have tremendous confidence in our approach to unlocking new therapeutical potential with microRNAs. We are pioneering approaches that preferentially deliver microRNA modulators to disease-affected tissues in a number of serious, disabling and life-limiting conditions. We are thrilled to advance the development of ATX-01 for DM1, where we believe we have the potential to be best-in-class driven by its dual mechanism of action and I am committed to continued expansion and strengthening of the ARTHEx’ pipeline, which is based on the foundational technology discovered and developed over decades in my lab,” said Dr. Beatriz Llamusí, CSO and co-founder of ARTHEx Biotech.
“The foundational technology of microRNA modulation at ARTHEx shows great promise in identifying new ways to treat disease, by blocking or activating key disease-driving targets, and Columbus Venture Partners recognized the uniqueness of the approach with ATX-01. We are pleased to support the Company and join its high-quality investor syndicate,” said Jose Mesa, partner at Columbus Venture Partners. “We believe we have a tremendous opportunity to develop a novel therapy in DM1, an orphan disease with a significant number of patients across the world. We are pleased to be working with Fred, Beatriz and the outstanding team at ARTHEx and look forward to supporting the company through its next phase of growth. I also want to thank Beatriz for her tremendous work in growing and leading ARTHEx to this pivotal phase in the company’s history. We look forward to her continued contributions as CSO as we progress.”
The round was led by Columbus Venture Partners and also had participation from the European Innovation Council (EIC), Hadean Ventures, Sound Bioventures and previous investors Invivo Capital, AdBio Partners and CDTI.
RocaJunyent Banking and Finance team was led by partner Xavier Foz, along with senior associate Jordi Bermúdez and associate Florian Sanchez Coma.