Newly founded biotech company ActiTrexx receives funding of € 3.5 million to develop cell therapy against transplant rejection
March 2, 2021
ActiTrexx GmbH, a new biotech spin-off from the University Medical Center Mainz, Germany, has successfully closed its Series A financing. A consortium led by LBBW Venture Capital GmbH with participation from MediVentures GmbH, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) invested a total of € 3.5 million.
ActiTrexx develops ATreg, activated regulatory T cells (Tregs), which are stimulated using a proprietary process, to prevent rejection reactions in transplanted patients and excessive immune responses in autoimmune diseases. For this purpose, the regulatory T cells, natural guardian cells of the immune system, are activated outside the body via a patent-protected method and administered to patients intravenously. The team led by Prof. Andrea Tüttenberg and Dr. Helmut Jonuleit from the Department of Dermatology will use the funds raised to further optimize and clinically test the novel cell therapy.
The first clinical trials for the treatment of leukemia patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation and are at particularly high risk of a life-threatening transplant rejection, graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), is particularly high, are due to start as early as 2021.The trial will run in cooperation with the III. Medical Clinic of the University Medical Center Mainz. Preclinical data demonstrated that ATreg can significantly attenuate an already existing GvHD, and even prevent, largely, the development of the disease when given early after transplantation as a prophylactic treatment.
Should these observations be confirmed in patients in the clinic, ATreg could be the cornerstone of a new, effective GvHD therapy with few side effects.
Prof. Tüttenberg, CEO of ActiTrexx
In the past, regulatory T cells have been successfully used in academic studies for GvHD therapy.
However, the approach used by ActiTrexx means a significant improvement of already existing protocols due to the unique activation of Tregs. The product ATreg shortens the manufacturing process for Treg-based cell therapies from weeks to hours and thus, the cell preparation can be administered within a very short time.
Dr. Jonuleit, CSO of ActiTrexx
This is of particular benefit to patients with acute GvHD who are in urgent need of therapy.
The development of therapeutics to suppress an undesired immune response in stem cell and organ transplantation as well as autoimmune diseases is currently the focus of various biotech companies worldwide. Therapies based on regulatory T cells have seen limited use due to the time and cost intensive processes involved. The ActiTrexx approach, based on many years of research, overcomes these limitations and will enable the widespread use of Tregs. The ATreg therapy is expected to enter clinical trials this year and could be available to the first patients in very few years’ time. We are pleased to be able to support ActiTrexx in this way.
Dr. Stefanie Wojciech, Investment Manager at LBBW VC
With the consortium around LBBW VC, we were able to gain experienced investors with a broad network. We are very happy that investors understand our development approach and that the next steps of the preclinical and clinical phases are securely financed.
Prof. Dr. Tüttenberg, CEO of ActiTrexx
In addition, ActiTrexx will receive further funding for its successful company launch from the GO-Bio program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Previously, the founders of ActiTrexx had already raised € 4 million in 2016 as part of the GO-Bio start-up initiative.
ActiTrexx GmbH is a spin-off from the University Medical Center Mainz and was founded in 2020. The company develops ATreg, a cell therapy based on activated regulatory T cells that are stimulated using a proprietary process, for the treatment of transplant rejection, primarily in the field of stem cell transplantation, and autoimmune disorders. The product candidate is in advanced preclinical development and showed unique efficacy in the treatment of GvHD in relevant proof-of-concept studies. www.actitrexx.de
Prof. Dr. Andrea Tüttenberg, CEO
T: +49 (0)157 50430621
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Katja Arnold / Dr. Regina Lutz
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About LBBW Venture Capital GmbH
As a subsidiary of LBBW, LBBW Venture Capital GmbH is the “Center of Competence” for venture capital and technology investments. Since 1998, it has been offering venture capital financing for technology-oriented companies, mainly in the fields of industrial technologies, IT and life sciences. To date, more than 50 companies have been financed. LBBW VC invests in innovative or fast-growing companies with up to € 5 million in the DACH region and sees itself as a sustainable VC partner and mediator between the start-up scene and established medium-sized businesses. www.lbbwvc.de
About MediVentures GmbH
MediVentures GmbH is a healthcare-focused venture capital firm based in Munich (Germany) supporting visionary entrepreneurs who are building innovative business models and creating new standards of care. By providing capital, network and access to a wide range of operational expertise, the firm fosters the healthy growth of EU start-ups. In addition to investment activities, MediVentures creates innovative digital products by itself. With eyelevel®, the firm brings together experts with different expertise and creative minds to develop digital solutions to help people affected by mental health and chronic conditions. For more information, visit medi.ventures or the LinkedIn page MediVentures GmbH.
About Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB)
The Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) is the business development agency of the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. Based in Mainz, ISB is responsible for business development and housing finance. ISB is in charge of the promotion of medium-sized businesses and municipalities as well as of implementing the programs of social housing finance.
About Wagnisfinanzierungsgesellschaft für Technologieförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz mbH (WFT)
WFT is a venture capital company of the Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) that invests in innovative and high-growth companies in Rheinland-Pfalz. The fund is managed by the ISB’s Venture Capital/ Equity Investments division.
About Innovationsfonds Rheinland-Pfalz II
In the 2014 to 2020 funding period, the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz launched the Innovationsfonds Rheinland-Pfalz II, whose capital was endowed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national co-financing funds from the state of Rheinland-Pfalz. The Innovationsfonds Rheinland-Pfalz II is a funding measure of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Transport, Agriculture and Viniculture of the State of Rheinland-Pfalz.
The Innovationsfonds Rheinland-Pfalz II is located at WFT (the ISB’s fund company), through which the investments are made.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 600 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected almost EUR 3 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,700 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 120 companies.
Investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and 32 companies. The Fund Investors
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
T.: +49228 – 82300 – 188
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Fabian Mohr, Investment Manager
T.: +49228 – 82300 – 181
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