Billionaires bankroll Ganymed's $148M race through PhII cancer drug studies

The Strüngmann brothers' expensive taste for biotech companies has helped generate another big venture round for Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, a German biotech with claims to some cutting-edge cancer drug technology.

The identical twins Thomas and Andreas Strüngmann, who founded the big generics company Hexal and sold it to Novartis ($NVS) for $7.5 billion, helped Ganymed raise $60 million (€45 million) in a new venture round, bringing the total to $148 million over the past 5 years. MIG Fond and FCPB Gany GmbH also put up part of the venture funds.

Their firm, ATS Beteiligungsverwaltung GmbH, is the majority shareholder behind Ganymed, which features the research work of Dr. Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin. Türeci and Sahin have been developing "ideal" antibodies which they say can bind almost exclusively to proteins found on the surface of cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone.

Ganymed plans to use the new infusion of cash to bankroll an ongoing Phase IIa and Phase IIb study of IMAB362 for gastroesophageal cancer in preparation for a late-stage study. According to the biotech, IMAB362 binds to the tight junction protein Claudin-18.2, which is expressed in up to 80% of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas and 60% of pancreatic tumors as well as in various other solid tumors.

"We are very pleased that in the space of just three years, the Ganymed team has made immense progress in the clinical development of its lead program. In all clinical studies done so far, IMAB362 has shown exciting anticancer activity and safety data, suggesting that this antibody may well represent a breakthrough in the treatment of solid cancers," said Thomas Strüngmann of ATS Beteiligungsverwaltung.

- here's the release

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