Abalos Therapeutics appoints Dr Marcus Kostka as CEO along with raising €12m Series A funding to advance its arenavirus-based solution

 – GERMANY, Essen –  Abalos Therapeutics announced today a €12 million Series A financing round co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Gruenderfonds Ruhr, with participation from NRW.BANK and High-Tech Gruenderfonds.

Representatives from all investors will join the company’s newly formed Supervisory Board.

The Company’s objective is to develop new immuno-oncology therapeutics based on a specific arenavirus strain that preferentially infects and proliferates in cancer cells generating a strong anti-tumor immune response.

“After funding and supporting a range of biotechnology companies over the years, this promising technology and the chance to build a company with Jörg as a highly-experienced immunology expert made this opportunity extremely attractive.”

Concurrent with the financing, Abalos announced the appointment of experienced entrepreneurs Dr. Marcus Kostka as CEO and Dr. Jörg Vollmer as Chief Scientific Officer.

The proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Abalos’ arenavirus-based lead candidates towards clinical testing. The Company will develop the initial product candidates using its proprietary Fast Evolution platform, which will generate virus strains with optimized anti-tumoral properties. These candidates will be selected based on their ability to re-program the immune system to specifically and efficiently eliminate the malignant tumor tissue. The approach is based on the innovative research of immunologists Prof. Dr. Karl Lang, Chair of Immunology at the Medical Faculty, University Duisburg-Essen and Prof. Dr. Philipp Lang, Director of the Department of Molecular Medicine II, University Düsseldorf. Abalos builds on a close collaboration with the Universities Duisburg-Essen and Düsseldorf.

Dr. Aristotelis Nastos from Gruenderfonds Ruhr commented: “Immuno-oncology continues to make very exciting progress, however, developing drug candidates that can more fully harness the power of the immune system remains a challenge, in particular, addressing not only the main tumor but also distant metastases. We look forward to supporting Abalos’ experienced management team and its dedicated researchers to work on an arenavirus-based solution.”

About Dr. Marcus Kostka

Dr. Marcus Kostka is a highly seasoned industry expert bringing over 20 years and a range of experiences from Boehringer Ingelheim, where he held positions defined by the ability to locate and advance innovation.

“Abalos’ goal is to capture the potent immune activation and highly specific tumor tropism of the arenavirus to propel a differentiated immuno-oncology approach towards the clinical evaluation,” said Dr. Marcus Kostka “After funding and supporting a range of biotechnology companies over the years, this promising technology and the chance to build a company with Jörg as a highly-experienced immunology expert made this opportunity extremely attractive.”

Most recently, he was Venture Fund Partner at BI and held board positions at several companies and participated in the successful exits of Rigontec and ICD Therapeutics.

About Dr. Jörg Vollmer

In his role as CSO, Dr. Jörg Vollmer brings to Abalos Therapeutics significant knowledge and experience in the areas of immunology, oncology and infectious diseases, which he obtained in various R&D and executive positions over the course of his career. Most recently, Jörg was CSO at Rigontec where he helped advance a novel immuno-oncology treatment approach into the clinic and led the company’s R&D efforts until the acquisition by MSD in 2017.

About Abalos Therapeutics

Abalos Therapeutics has harnessed the unique immune stimulation of the arenavirus to develop a novel anti-cancer approach that provides the full breadth of the immune system’s power specifically against cancer cells. Through viral replication within cancer cells, Abalos’ arenavirus-based drug candidates are designed to awake precise innate and adaptive immune responses and activate all relevant immune cell types against primary tumors and metastases. Led by experienced biotech entrepreneurs and immunology pioneers, Abalos’ goal is to achieve a quantum leap in immuno-oncology.

For more information: http://www.abalos-tx.com

About Boehringer Ingelheim Corporate Venture Fund

Operating as a separate legal entity, the Boehringer Ingelheim Corporate Venture Fund drives innovation through its strategic investments in early-stage science and technology. With an investment volume of 250 million euro, the Venture Fund invests in biotech and start-up companies with innovative concepts and technologies that have the potential to provide ground-breaking therapeutic platforms. The Venture Fund also creates companies when it identifies promising research projects in university and academia. The Venture Fund’s interest in young, mainly technology-oriented companies demonstrates its commitment to investigate new ideas and new science to prepare the way for Boehringer Ingelheim to expand into new therapeutic approaches and businesses.

For more information: https://www.boehringer-ingelheim-venture.com

About Gruenderfonds Ruhr

Jointly initiated by Initiativkreis Ruhr and NRW.BANK, Gruenderfonds Ruhr is the first private-sector early-stage fund in the Ruhr region to be financed by regional industrial and financial companies. The fund invests in innovative and technology-oriented companies in the life science & health, digital economy, chemicals & new materials, energy & industry and logistics & trade sectors. Good growth and exit prospects, as well as competent management, are prerequisites. As a multi-corporate early-stage fund Gruenderfonds Ruhr also opens up important industry access opportunities for the respective portfolio companies.

For more information: https://gruenderfonds-ruhr.com

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