SBA Member, 14.05.2018
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG, a developer of a new class of biodegradable glycopolymer treatments for autoimmune diseases, today announced the closing of a CHF3.1 million financing, following the receipt of a second tranche. The financing was led by EVA Basel and included the Zürcher Kantonalbank and private investors. The proceeds will be used to advance its lead asset, PN-1007, to clinical development for the treatment of the rare nervous system disease, anti-MAG neuropathy, and advance additional applications of its Antibody-Catch™ technology platform. This technology enables the chemical design of injectable, biodegradable glycopolymers to eliminate autoimmune disease-causing autoantibodies, while leaving the immune system intact.
"Since the initial seed financing tranche, we have met several key milestones, such as delivering preclinical proof of principle with PN-1007, concluding a key licensing agreement with the University of Basel and expanding the team, including the appointments of Gerhard Müller, Ph.D., as Chairman and Michael Wacker, Ph.D., as Chief Business Officer," said Ruben Herrendorff, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Polyneuron. "We believe there is great potential in our approach to treating devastating autoimmune diseases of the nervous system where the pathological role of anti-carbohydrate autoantibodies is well established and will shortly begin the next round of fundraising to advance key assets to clinical proof of principle."
Concurrent with the financing, Polyneuron announced the appointment of Gerhard Müller as Chairman and Michael Wacker as Chief Business Officer.
Gerhard Müller is an experienced drug hunter who has successfully managed research units and led drug discovery projects within the pharmaceutical, the CRO, and the biotech industry. Currently, he serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at Gotham Therapeutics. Previous to Gotham, he successfully established from scratch the medicinal chemistry business unit at Mercachem, a Dutch Chemistry CRO. Prior to that, he held CSO and Vice President positions at Proteros Fragments, GPC Biotech, and Axxima Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Müller began his industry career at Glaxo in Verona, followed by project management positions at Bayer AG in Leverkusen, and was head of medicinal chemistry at Organon in the Netherlands. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Technical University of Munich, where he discovered anti-adhesive integrin antagonists under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Horst Kessler.
Michael Wacker has more than fifteen years' experience in life science industry and is a board member of various life science companies. Most recently, he was Chief Scientific Officer and member of the Board of Directors of GlycoVaxyn, a company that he co-founded in 2004 that was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2015. He holds a M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and completed his Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship in Microbiology at ETHZ. During this time, he was an inventor of GlycoVaxyn's technology.
Antibody-Catch™ is a platform technology developed by Polyneuron to facilitate the rational design of drugs that bind and eliminate disease-causing autoantibodies in autoimmune diseases. The drug candidates are chemically produced, biodegradable, high-molecular weight glycopolymers that offer multiple epitope-mimics to the autoantibodies. After injection, the drug serves as a decoy for the autoantibody, which then is sequestered and eliminated from the body. This highly specific treatment approach is fundamentally new and could potentially enable treatment options for previously incurable diseases. Polyneuron currently focuses on autoimmune diseases which involve autoantibodies against carbohydrate epitopes.
Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals was founded as a University Basel spin-off in 2014 by pharmaceutical researchers Dr. Ruben Herrendorff (CEO) and Dr. Pascal Hänggi (CSO), Prof. Beat Ernst, an expert in carbohydrate-based drug discovery, and neurologist Prof. Dr. med. Andreas J. Steck, an expert in autoimmune disorders of the nervous system. The company is headquartered at the Basel Inkubator, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.polyneuron.com.
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