– GERMANY, Berlin – Tacalyx, a biotech company focused on the discovery and development of novel anti-TACA cancer therapies, today announced that it has successfully secured €7 million in seed funding. The funding round involves a syndicate of leading European life science and technology investors co-led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Kurma Partners and joined by Idinvest Partners, High-Tech Gründerfonds, coparion, and Creathor Ventures.
In conjunction with the financing, Dr. Lena Krzyzak, Ulrich Mahr, Dr. Detlev Mennerich, Dr. Peter Neubeck, Dr. Sebastian Pünzeler and Karlheinz Schmelig will join Tacalyx’s board of directors alongside Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger.
Tacalyx, a spin-out of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, will use the proceeds to advance its discovery platform, progress obtained leads towards candidate selection and start its pre-clinical development.
As tumor markers, TACAs are considered highly innovative targets for anticancer therapies due to their specific expression on a wider variety of tumor cells. At the same time TACAs drive tumor virulence and therefore their masking and/or down-regulation would compromise the vital functions of the tumor cell. However, because of TACAs’ low immunogenicity, the generation of antibodies against them is a challenging task and requires innovative tools as well as extensive knowledge of the employed technology.
Tacalyx’s discovery platform will allow the identification and validation of TACAs followed by the generation of leads against these difficult targets, for the implementation of novel immunotherapies that trigger an anti-cancer response more efficiently. The company combines the unique ability to synthesize sufficient amounts of ultra-pure and highly complex TACA structures with its analysis and screening capabilities and its experience in the successful generation of mAb leads against non-peptidic targets.
Tacalyx secured access to licenses and the know-how from Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH to the underlying technology and related discoveries made by its scientific co-founders, Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger, Director at the MPI for Colloids and Interfaces, and world-leading expert in glycosciences, and Dr. Oren Moscovitz, Group leader at the MPI for Colloids and Interfaces and an expert in glycobiology and glyco-oncology. Seeberger’s and Moscovitz’s scientific discoveries in the fields of tumor glycoscience and glycan targeting antibody generation gave rise to Tacalyx’s proprietary platform with supplementary financial support from technology transfer funds of Max-Planck-Society.
Dr. Peter Sondermann, CEO of Tacalyx, said: “This financing, by highly experienced life sciences and technology investors, represents an important validation of our platform and development strategy and will help to position us at the forefront of this breakthrough approach. Besides establishing the company and our discovery platform for lead generation, we will use these funds to explore relevant TACA biology in detail. We will also further assess and characterize our first lead antibodies and their functional role in treating cancer. Following which in vivo pharmacology studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of our lead antibodies will provide additional functional validation to progress at least one lead molecule to clinical development.”
Dr. Detlev Mennerich, Investment Director at Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, said: “We are pleased to have built this syndicate of leading investors to advance our mission of investing in ground-breaking therapeutics-focused biotechnology companies that drive innovation in biomedical research. Anti-TACA antibody generation requires sophisticated knowledge to produce specific high-affinity binders to TACAs. Tacalyx’s synthetic TACA chemistry, its understanding of TACA biology and ability to generate and characterize anti-TACA antibodies against these low immunogenic targets will enable the Company to realize their significant potential as treatments for multiple cancers.”
Tacalyx is a private oncology company focused on the discovery and development of Tumor Associated Carbohydrate Antigen antibodies to treat cancer. TACAs are formed during malignant transformation in a microevolutionary process. The expression of TACAs is elevated in many cancer cell types which makes TACAs attractive potential targets for cancer treatment by harnessing and directing the natural immune response. Tacalyx is developing its proprietary technology platform to exploit TACAs as novel targets for cancer therapy.
Tacalyx was founded by a highly experienced team with a track record of successful drug development in multiple companies including Glycart, SuppreMol, Baxalta, Vaxxilon, GlyXera, and GlycoUniverse. The Company’s founders include BIVF, Dr. Peter Sondermann CEO of Tacalyx, Prof. Dr. Peter H. Seeberger, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Dr. Oren Moscovitz, Group leader at the MPI for Colloids and Interfaces and Max-Planck-Society.
Tacalyx is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and is backed by leading European life sciences and technology investors Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Kurma Partners, High-Tech Gründerfonds, coparion, Creathor Ventures and Idinvest Partners.
For more information: https://www.tacalyx.com
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
Created in 2010, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH invests in ground-breaking therapeutics-focused biotechnology companies to drive innovation in biomedical research. BIVF is searching for significant enhancements in patient care through pioneering science and its clinical translation by building long-term relationships with scientists and entrepreneurs. BIVF’s focus is to target unprecedented therapeutic concepts addressing high medical needs in immuno-oncology, in regenerative medicine or infectious diseases. These may include novel platform technologies to address so far undruggable targets, new generation vaccines and/or new biological entities, such as oncolytic virotherapy as well as Digital Health. BIVF takes an active role with its portfolio companies – delivering significant added value through its own extensive drug discovery, scientific and managerial expertise. BIVF has €250 million under management and currently supervises a portfolio of 25 companies.
For more information: https://www.boehringer-ingelheim-venture.com
About Kurma Partners
Founded in July 2009, Kurma Partners is a key European player with offices in Paris and Munich in the financing of innovation in healthcare and biotechnology, from pre-creation to growth capital, notably through Kurma Biofund I through III and Kurma Diagnostics, as well as via strategic partnerships with prestigious European research and medical institutions. The new fund Kurma Biofund III invests in private companies, addressing high unmet medical and patient needs with a portfolio of approximately twelve to fifteen companies, 40% of which will be early-stage financings and company creations like Tacalyx.
For more information: http://www.kurmapartners.com
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