News

HTGF portfolio company: EIB backs Atriva Therapeutics with €24 million for the development of a potential COVID-19 treatment

October 20, 2020

  • European Investment Bank and Atriva Therapeutics sign financing agreement of €24 million for the research, development and clinical testing of the company’s lead product candidate against influenza and COVID-19
  • Atriva’s ATR-002 molecule is the only host-cell targeting antiviral therapeutic specifically developed to treat severe respiratory infections caused by RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses – it may prevent progression to critical-stage COVID-19 in hospitalised patients and holds strong potential in the current pandemic
  • The EIB venture debt transaction is financed under the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility set up as part of Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme for 2014-2020

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Atriva Therapeutics GmbH, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of host-targeting antiviral therapies, concluded a €24 million financing agreement today to facilitate the company’s development and clinical testing of a novel therapy treating severe respiratory infections with RNA viruses. RNA viruses cause diseases such as influenza, SARS and COVID-19. Atriva’s ATR-002, an oral small molecule, has been proven to block the viral propagation of SARS-CoV-2 in pre-clinical trials, making it a much-needed therapeutic option for patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms who require hospitalisation.

While one needs to be careful when comparing COVID-19 to the flu, it might be helpful that both diseases have overlaps in their mechanisms of infection. If, as Atriva’s research indicates, one small molecule can work to treat both diseases, this would be excellent news not only for the millions of people who fall ill from the flu every year but also for the many more who are affected by the coronavirus lately. An effective treatment would also lift a huge burden from our health systems and help mitigate the impact these diseases have on our daily lives and the economy. This is a case where EIB financing can contribute to addressing an extremely high unmet medical need, which is something I am proud of.

Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President in charge of innovation and transactions in Germany

The European Union is doing all in its power to protect Europeans against coronavirus. The European Commission is coordinating the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action for universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. With this loan to Atriva, the EU continues its support for the development of innovative Covid-19 treatments. Their therapy can add to the range of complementary solutions that we need to tackle this disease.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

The EIB clearly understands the need for an effective antiviral therapy against influenza and COVID-19 and the potential such a treatment holds to help patients around the world. We are grateful for the EIB’s support in advancing the clinical development of ATR-002 as an innovative host-targeting therapy against these prevalent and potentially devastating diseases. With the funding from the EIB, we can now take the next development steps –starting a Phase II study in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections, followed by further clinical development work in influenza. When the coronavirus pandemic hit us all earlier this year, we saw that Atriva’s technology had the potential to play an important role in the fight against COVID-19, and we are excited to move forward in this work now. Our ultimate goal, though, is to develop a broad-spectrum antiviral drug that will also be effective against future viral outbreaks.

Dr Rainer Lichtenberger, co-founder and CEO of Atriva

ATR-002 has been developed specifically to treat respiratory viral infections by inhibiting MEK, a host cell factor required for the replication of various RNA viruses, including the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. Atriva’s pre-clinical studies, performed at the Universities of Tübingen and Münster, have demonstrated that MEK inhibition by ATR-002 also prevents SARS-CoV-2 replication.

In addition to its antiviral efficacy, ATR-002 shows a second beneficial effect: the MEK-inhibitor was able to significantly decrease pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression in cells. Cytokines and chemokines are proteins that coordinate the immune response throughout the body. In patients with COVID-19, ATR-002 could prevent a cytokine storm and the associated disease progression to a life-threatening condition.

This dual benefit, antiviral activity and immunomodulation, positions ATR-002 as a promising therapeutic candidate. Atriva has filed the respective patents with the European Patent Office. In addition, ATR-002 successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial in 2019 where it demonstrated excellent safety and tolerability in healthy volunteers.

Atriva will receive the EIB loan in three tranches upon the completion of pre-defined milestones. The funds will support the company’s R&D for ATR-002, including clinical trial expenses, the technical transfer and manufacturing ramp-up needed to reach a commercial scale, as well as regulatory, intellectual property, pharmacovigilance and market access activities. Atriva will now start a multinational, double-blind, randomised clinical Phase II study in hospitalised patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 infections.

The loan is backed by the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF) set up as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The IDFF is an example of successful collaboration between the European Commission and the EIB in the face of a health crisis. Through this facility, the EIB has supported European companies with total lending of around €400 million for developing cures, vaccines and diagnostics for various infectious diseases, most prominently the coronavirus.

Background Information

The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investments in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB also supports investments outside the EU.

The InnovFin Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF) is dedicated to supporting the fight against infectious diseases. This joint European Commission and EIB Group initiative is part of Horizon 2020, the 2014-2020 EU research and innovation programme. The IDFF enables the EIB to provide between €7.5m and €75m of funding to innovative players active in developing vaccines, drugs, medical and diagnostic devices and research infrastructure for combating infectious diseases. The financing mainly goes to projects that have completed the pre-clinical stage and need clinical approval for further development. The IDFF has been increased by €400 million to boost its capacity for tackling the outbreak of the coronavirus. The total EU contribution to the IDFF via Horizon 2020 is estimated at almost €700 million.

About Atriva Therapeutics GmbH
Atriva Therapeutics, founded in 2015, is a biopharmaceutical company specifically pioneering the development of host-targeting antiviral therapies set up by a team of leading scientists in viral research and seasoned industry experts. The company aims to develop new antiviral therapies against different severe respiratory viral infections with a high unmet medical need, such as influenza and COVID-19. Atriva’s lead product ATR-002 is a first-in-class host-targeting agent, which inhibits viral replication in influenza and favourably modulates the body’s immune response. ATR-002 is under clinical development and has successfully completed a Phase I trial to demonstrate safety and tolerability in healthy subjects (NCT04385420). The Company has initiated a Phase II study to evaluate efficacy in hospitalised COVID-19 patients while a Phase II study in influenza is planned to start in early 2021. Atriva Therapeutics is located in Tübingen and Frankfurt, Germany.

Press Contacts
EIB
Antonie Kerwien
a.kerwien@eib.org
tel.: +352 691 285497
Website: www.eib.org/press
Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

Atriva Therapeutics GmbH
Dr Rainer Lichtenberger, CEO
tel. +49 7071 859 7673/ Mobile: +49 173 743 1897
lichtenberger@atriva-therapeutics.com

Media and Investor Relations: MC Services AG
Eva Bauer / Raimund Gabriel
tel.: +49 89 210 228 80
atriva-therapeutics@mc-services.eu

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 almost 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 over EUR 2.6 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,600 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies.

Investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and 32 companies. Our Fund Investors
www.htgf.de/en

Contact
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Frank Hensel, Principal
t.: +49 – (0)228 – 82300142
f.hensel@htgf.de

Stay up to date

Subscribe now and receive the latest press releases on investments and other news from High-Tech Gründerfonds. We inform you about important developments at HTGF and provide you with interesting news from our portfolio. Whether it’s a successful exit, a new exciting investment or HR news – you’ll be the first to know!

More News posts

Press
27. February 2024

Successful Exit for HTGF: Valispace Joins Forces with Altium in a Strategic Acquisition 

Altium and Valispace are joining forces to accelerate the execution of a shared vision for empowering engineers.  HTGF was the first institutional investor and led the seed round in 2018 and has closely supported Valispace throughout all phases of their growth journey. As part of the deal HTGF will sell its shares.  Louise Lindblad, co-founder of Valispace: “We’re now excited to, together with Altium, continue our mission of empowering engineers to build great products,
 
Press
toolify founders
22. February 2024

€1.6 million investment for XITO: Seed funding for easily accessible robotics

With the completed seed financing, XITO now has €1.6 million to expand sales and product development. Toolify Robotics GmbH enables companies to implement robots independently with its XITO solution platform. Thanks to their product XITO, especially SMEs can get started with automation at low cost – without programming knowledge and without external specialists. Ulm, 22. February 2024 – The start-up Toolify Robotics, founded by the three robotics experts Dr. Dennis S
 
Press
21. February 2024

ClimateTech startup Cyclize secures €5 Million in Seed Funding for revolutionary plastic recycling technology

Stuttgart, February 21, 2024 – Cyclize, the ClimateTech startup from Stuttgart, is forging ahead with €4.75 million in startup capital to initiate a revolution in the chemical industry – the goal: To replace fossil resources using innovative carbon recycling of plastic waste and CO2. The funding round is led by UVC Partners, with complementary investments from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Aurum Impact, UnternehmerTUM Funding for Innovators, and high-profile business angels, includin