Promethera Biosciences banks $31M to fund PhI/II stem cell trial

Belgium's Promethera Biosciences has raised a bit more than $31 million to fund a Phase I/II study of its lead stem cell therapy, with Boehringer Ingelheim and Shire ($SHPGY) leading a pack of investors in the B round. The biotech reports that venture funds contributed about $22.5 million, with the rest coming from a loan provided by the Walloon Region. Mitsui Global Investment, ATMI and Belgian venture capital fund Sambrinvest all chipped in as well.

The money will be used to push ahead with the clinical development of HepaStem, and adult stem cell treatment for rare liver diseases. The program is built around the adult stem cells that can be extracted from a human liver, offering up to 100 treatments from a single liver.

Promethera has claimed human proof-of-concept data after injecting three patients with the stem cell therapy. The biotech says the first patient was suffering from ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency, one of the 6 urea cycle defects, the second patient presented a Crigler-Najjar syndrome and the third patient was suffering from glycogenosis type 1a.

"There is a real need for medical innovation to treat metabolic diseases in children; too many diseases are still intractable," stated Etienne Sokal, the founder and chief scientific officer at Promethera. "The first HepaStem studies represent a major step towards, we hope, eventually transforming the prognosis of these diseases."

- here's the press release