Crescendo Biologics Raises GBP4.5 million in Seed-Funding Led by Sofinnova Partners
CAMBRIDGE, England, October 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Crescendo Biologics ("Crescendo") today announces it has raised GBP4.5 million in a seed-funding round to advance the development of its fragment antibody technology platforms. The funding round was led by Sofinnova Partners, a Paris-based venture capital firm, with Aitua, Avlar BioVentures and the Rainbow Seed Fund also participating.
Crescendo brings together highly innovative in vivo and in vitro technology platforms invented by scientists at the Babraham Institute, including Dr Marianne Bruggemann, a pioneer in the development of human antibody transgenics, and Dr Mike Taussig, an expert in protein display and array systems. Crescendo's technology platforms will enable the Company to generate diverse, stable and optimised human heavy chain (VH) fragments, the smallest functional binding units of an antibody molecule. These fragments offer several advantages as starting points for the development of novel therapeutics: they can be administered topically by inhaled and oral routes as well as by injection; they provide great flexibility in format of the product, including bi-specific targeting; they are easy to manufacture and stable; and they have the potential to target binding sites inaccessible to conventional antibodies.
The Crescendo transgenic mouse platform has the potential to rapidly and predictably generate human VH fragments that have high affinity and solubility, and no requirement for humanisation. This is combined with a powerful in vitro ribosome display technology which offers significant advantages in antibody optimisation.
The seed funding will allow Crescendo to advance the development of these platforms and to initiate the development of proprietary therapeutics, following the appointment of the CSO, Dr Mike Romanos, who has extensive experience in biopharmaceutical R&D and played a pivotal role in building GlaxoSmithKline's antibody discovery platform (see separate release).
Mike Romanos, CSO at Crescendo Biologics, said: "This substantial funding from experienced life sciences investors provides a powerful validation of our approach to creating next-generation targeted biological therapeutics based on fragment antibodies. With the funding in place, we will be able to accelerate the development of our technology platforms and advance their application to in-house projects."
Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said: "Antibodies have proved to be extremely effective therapeutics commanding huge market value and there is a great deal of demand from within the pharmaceutical industry for next-generation antibody technologies that can underpin further growth. We believe that Crescendo has the right technology, IP, expertise and vision to become a world-leading next generation antibody developer."
About Crescendo Biologics Ltd
Crescendo Biologics will apply highly innovative antibody fragment technologies to the development of new targeted therapeutics. The Crescendo transgenic mouse platform under development has the potential to rapidly and predictably generate high-affinity human heavy chain antibodies that readily yield VH fragments that have no requirement for humanisation. This is combined with a powerful in vitro ribosome display technology which offers significant advantages over existing approaches in antibody optimisation. VH fragments provide great flexibility as a starting point for the development of new targeted therapeutics combining the specificity and binding affinity of antibodies with certain desirable characteristics of small molecules.
Crescendo's technologies were invented by scientists at the Babraham Institute, Cambridge (UK). The Company has raised GBP4.5 million in seed funding from leading life sciences investors, Sofinnova Partners with Aitua, Avlar BioVentures and the Rainbow Seed Fund also participating. http://www.crescendobiologics.com
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France that specializes in investments in early stage companies and corporate spin-offs in the technology and life sciences sectors. From landmark historical investments including Genentech and Biogen to more recent successes such as Vistaprint, Actelion, CoreValve and Fovea, Sofinnova has a history of discovering and nurturing companies and entrepreneurs. Since 1972, the firm has financed over 460 companies, many of which have gone public or have been acquired, and currently manages over EUR1 billion in assets. Please visit http://www.sofinnova.fr for more information on Sofinnova's team and portfolio.
About Aitua Ltd
Founded in June 2006, Aitua has invested in a number of early stage life science companies. Situated at the heart of the Cambridge biotechnology cluster, the company uses its expertise to build on a platform of top-quality research to develop commercial life science businesses. As well as a close relationship with the Babraham Institute, Aitua have invested in a opportunities wherever they may originate.
About Avlar BioVentures Ltd
Avlar is a specialist biotechnology venture capital company and is the manager of Avlar BioVentures Fund I, Avlar BioVentures Fund II and The Cambridge Gateway Fund. All three funds are focused on seed and early stage investments and are used to invest in emerging bioscience technologies. Avlar's approach to investment is very much 'hands on', working intensively with companies in the critical stages of development from pre-formation to second round of financing, applying its strategic, entrepreneurial and biotech industry skills. Please visit http://www.avlar.com for more information.
About The Rainbow Seed Fund
The GBP10m Rainbow Seed Fund http://www.rainbowseedfund.com was established in 2002 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publicly funded institutions, our partners. The Fund, which is independently managed by Midven Ltd, made its first investment in 2002, and currently has a portfolio of 22 companies with one exit.
The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology's development, and helps to turn an idea into a business by actively identifying and supporting experienced management and facilitating additional co-investment. Rainbow's partners spend over GBP1 billion on research and development every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest stage.