t-cell Europe GmbH successfully completes initial financing round
t-cell Europe GmbH, a spin-off of the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, has announced the successful completion of its first round of financing, raising a total of EUR 1.45 million from Germany’s High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Constantin Bastian Leander Venture Capital GmbH, and the Brandenburg state development bank (ILB). The start-up company, located in Kleinmachnow, a suburb of Berlin, has dedicated itself since its founding in 2010 to the development and subsequent commercialization of T‑cell-based therapies. Its first product for a specific medical indication, a Treg-cell product for use in conjunction with kidney transplants, is currently being developed on the basis of the company’s internally developed and patent-protected platform technology.
Each year more than 30,000 patients in Europe and the U.S. receive a kidney from a living or deceased donor. Unfortunately, the donor organ is generally recognized by the patient’s immune system as no-self and therefore regularly rejected. To overcome this natural defensive reaction of the body, physicians must subject their patients to lifelong therapy with drugs which suppress the body’s immune system. This long-term immunosuppressive therapy, however, may lead to serious side effects, such as infections, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The novel approach from t‑cell has been specifically designed to obviate the need for chronic immunosuppressive therapy. It achieves this by utilizing a special type of naturally occurring immune cell called a “regulatory T-cell” (Treg). In normal body function, Treg -cells play a central role by preventing overreactions of our immune systems. The innovation conceived by t‑cell and now under development is to use therapeutically introduced Treg -cells as a tool to persuade the patient’s immune system accepting the foreign kidney as ‘self’.
“The technology from t-cell addresses a billion-euro market with clear medical needs. With no T-cell-based product currently on the market, the company’s development activities are of interest, particularly for large biopharmaceutical companies who wish to broaden their product pipelines. The future value of this innovative product will, for this reason, clearly be driven by the demand of the pharmaceutical industry for cell-based therapies. The broad potential for applications in connection with a patent-protected technology was, in the final evaluation, critical to our decision to invest in this financing round,” explained Dr. Caroline Fichtner, senior investment manager at High-Tech Gruenderfonds.
“As a strategic investor, we always strive to achieve long-term business success through partnership, working together with management for the benefit of the company,” said Dr. Peter Smeets, managing partner at Constantin Bastian Leander Venture Capital GmbH. “In the case of t‑cell, it was first and foremost the interdisciplinary team of company founders along with the technology itself that attracted our interest. For some years already, we have been active supporting the Young Heroes (Junge Helden) Association in Berlin, which works to build awareness and understanding in the area of organ donation. The prospect of being able to significantly reduce the negative consequences of immunosuppression which so often follow transplants with a revolutionary new therapy was something which drove us to make this investment in t-cell.”
“We are delighted about the seed financing obtained from the High-Tech Gruenderfonds and about having brought Constantin Bastian Leander Venture Capital on board as an investor,” added Dr. Claudia Ulbrich, CEO of t-cell Europe GmbH. “This financing will enable our continuing development activities as well as the validation of our platform technology according to pharmaceutical standards so that we may subsequently proceed to clinical studies. When I had my initial meeting with the company last year, I was immediately convinced by the team, by the technology, and by the prospects for successful commercialization. It is thus very gratifying that we have so quickly been able to reach this first milestone, securing the capital which we require to execute our plans.”
About t-cell Europe GmbH
The objective of t-cell Europe GmbH (a spin-off of the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, a joint center of the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin and the Helmholtz Center in Geesthacht which works to translate scientific results into clinical practice) is to develop and commercialize novel T-cell-based therapies based on its IP-protected platform technology. Its first product for a specific medical indication is to be a Treg-cell product for use in conjunction with kidney transplants. t-cell enjoys a strong position which is protected by patents which cannot be circumvented.
t-cell Europe GmbH
Dr. Claudia Ulbrich
phone:+49 (0) 33203-182575
fax:+49 (0) 33203-182576
About Constantin Bastian Leander Venture Capital
Constantin Bastian Leander Venture Capital GmbH (CBL) was founded in 2000 by Dr. Rainer Zimmermann and Dr. Peter Smeets, who remain the company’s two managing partners with equal shares. The business of CBL is venture capital investment, particularly in early-stage technology companies, in the acquisition of “old economy” companies which are in special or turnaround situations, and in real estate investment.
About High-Tech Gruenderfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as thirteen industrial groups of ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 563 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 291 million HTGF II).
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Frau Dr. Caroline Fichtner
Senior Investment Managerin
Tel.: +49 228 823001–00
Fax: +49 228 823000–50