Invasight AG, a Swiss pre-clinical stage biotech company with a mission to develop their breakthrough targeted therapies for invasive cancers, announced the closing of a CHF 4.5 million seed round. The seed financing round was led by OCCIDENT and co-led by JFG Life Sciences Foundation, with participation from Verve Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Wille Finance AG, Zürcher Kantonalbank, AVANTECA Partners, and a number of angel investors.
Leveraging their ACINDA platform, Invasight accelerates drug discovery and enables the design of specific protein-protein interaction antagonists (PPIAs) against non-traditional intracellular protein targets, which cause cancer cell invasion.
"Our first-in-class PPIAs combine potent anti-tumor activity with a favourable safety profile for patients with invasive cancers. The most advanced of these first-in-class PPIAs is F2i, an inhibitor of pro-invasive FGF signalling. F2i is currently in the pre-clinical validation stage of drug development and has shown proven in-vivo efficacy in gastric, ovarian and colorectal cancer models driven by FGF signalling," said Karthiga Kumar, Co-Founder, CEO & CSO of Invasight.
"We are pleased to bring together an experienced syndicate of biotech investors that will add considerable strategic value to the development of the technology and advance our pipeline of products," said Sam Fulcher, Co-Founder of Invasight.
Underpinning Invasight's pipeline of PPIAs is ACINDA, a novel drug discovery platform. ACINDA consists of patented 3D tumoroid (3DT) plates, proprietary cancer cell invasion models, a machine learning based automated cell dissemination counter (aCDc) software, computer-assisted drug designing (CADD) tools and a digital biobank.
"Our breakthrough technology, ACINDA, is the first technology that quantifies cancer cell invasion at a single cell resolution, accelerating drug discovery and design of protein-protein interaction antagonists," said Fulcher.
Cédric Barra, Senior Investment Manager for the life sciences sector at OCCIDENT, commented on the exciting potential impact Invasight brings to patients. "We are very excited to welcome Invasight to our portfolio. We consider their technology and PPIAs very promising and see considerable potential for their lead indication. We are convinced that the company can provide significant benefits to patients," said Barra.
"Invasight’s first lead candidate addresses a substantial unmet medical need. More than 360,000 patients per year with FGFR-driven gastric cancer currently have no targeted therapy option," said Susanne Schorsch, Venture Partner at Verve Ventures.
“We are impressed by Invasight’s ACINDA platform to identify novel drug targets even in an established signalling pathway such as FGF and to screen these targets efficiently. Their lead candidate shows inhibition superior to approved drugs and could one day overcome acquired tumour resistance and decrease side effects for thousands of patients with cancer,” said Julian Zachmann, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds.
Patrick Burgermeister, CEO of the JFG Life Sciences Foundation added, "We are proud to co-lead this seed round and support this elegant and novel way of fighting solid tumours backed by an innovative technology platform."