Langer biopolymer, drug delivery startup nabs $25M+ to get approvals starting in cardio surgery

GB-02 tissue sealant--Courtesy of Gecko Biomedical

Gecko Biomedical has raised €22.5 million ($25.5 million) to get it through the clinic and gain regulatory approval for its biopolymer platform in several indications for tissue reconstruction. It's aiming for a first approval within a year--with the first focus on its cardiovascular reconstruction candidate, dubbed GB-02. The goal is to create an entire product portfolio based on its novel polymer that enables guided tissue repair and localized drug delivery.

The Paris-based startup was founded in late 2013 by MIT's Robert Langer as well as Dr. Jeff Karp of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, alongside Christophe Bancel and Bernard Gilly. This latest financing is a Series A2 round, following a $10.8 million Series A in December 2013.

The company is based on a high-viscosity polymer that is cured using light into an elastic, biodegradable film. The expectation is that this could be useful across a number of tissue repair indications, in addition to incorporating various drugs for local delivery, in order to be used as a surgical sealant and an adhesive.

GB-04 defect closure--Courtesy of Gecko Biomedical

"Our investors' support will enable us to complete our international clinical plans in cardiovascular surgery, which, if positive, will allow us to seek our first regulatory approval within one year," said Gecko CEO Christophe Bancel in a statement. "In addition, the funds will be used to expand our GB-02 platform to additional applications in tissue reconstruction. We will also drive the development of our next-generation polymer GB-04, for sutureless closure."

Prominent European venture firm Sofinnova Partners led the round, in the process becoming the largest Gecko investor. French public investment bank Bpifrance also led the financing. Existing Series A investors Omnes Capital, CM-CIC Innovation and CapDecisif Management also participated.

Sofinnova's Antoine Papiernik and Bpifrance's Chahra Louafi have joined the Gecko board as part of the financing.

"We are thrilled to be involved with Gecko Biomedical, a company which combines all the key features we are looking for when investing in a company: a very strong management team and a world-class platform technology with a multitude of possible paradigm-shifting applications," summed up Papiernik.

- here is the announcement

Read more on