Investors pony up $21M for F-star's antibody work

Austria's f-star, which is using its Modular Antibody Technology platform to discover new antibodies, has raised €15 million ($21 million) in new funding. GlaxoSmithKline's venture capital arm SR One led the round, with additional help from existing investors Atlas Venture, Aescap Venture, Novo Ventures, TVM Capital, Merck Serono Ventures and MP Healthcare Venture. The funding will support f-star through IND-enabling studies and into the clinic, claimed CEO Dr. Kevin FitzGerald in a statement.

F-star is using its platform to engineer smaller-sized antibodies, called Fcab, and full antibodies with additional functionality or bispecificity (mAb2). Though the company is only five years old, it already has a Big Pharma partner--and a big development deal--to its name. Last year Boehringer Ingelheim agreed to pay up to $1.7 billion in a discovery pact covering seven different therapeutic antibody programs.

"We believe the [Modular Antibody Technology] platform has the potential to generate numerous novel differentiated biologics with advanced efficacy, tissue penetration and targeting capabilities compared to traditional antibodies and are excited to be part of the next stage of the company's development," said board member Dr. Deborah Harland of SR One.* F-star has 23 employees and has raised $49 million since its inception.

- check out the f-star release

ALSO: New Zealand-based Living Cell Technologies has garnered $4 million from Japan's Otsuka. The fudning will be used to support development of the company's type 1 diabetes treatment. Report

*Editor's Note: This article incorrectly stated that Dr. Deborah Harland was with TVM Capital.