OMEICOS Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases including atrial fibrillation (AF), today announced that it has raised EUR 6.2 million in a Series A round. Participating in the round were Vesalius Biocapital II S.A. SICAR, acting as lead; a SMS Group Company; VC Fonds Technologie Berlin; Hightech Gruenderfonds II GmbH & Co. KG (HTGF); and KfW Group. As part of the financing round, the company has received subsidies of EUR 550,000 via Ascenion’s Spinnovator, a grant program supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
“The growing population of AF patients is faced with outdated and extremely limited medical treatment options. Current treatments have insufficient efficacy, risk of severe side effects, and are unable to reduce patient mortality,” said Dr. Robert Fischer, Chief Scientific Officer of OMEICOS Therapeutics. “We are grateful for the recognition from our investors that OMEICOS has the potential to develop truly novel drugs to prevent and treat severe cardiovascular diseases such as AF.”
The company’s novel therapeutic strategy is based on synthetic derivatives of natural metabolites of omega-3 fatty acids that have a strong antiarrhythmic effect. So far, approaches to make omega-3 fatty acids therapeutically effective have not been particularly successful due to the instability of their bioactive metabolites. OMEICOS has managed to overcome this hurdle by developing synthetic molecules that are equally potent as natural metabolites, but much more stable, making them suitable as orally available therapeutics.
Unlike other antiarrhythmic drugs, OMEICOS’ compounds activate an endogenous cardio-protective signaling pathway that stabilizes heart rhythm. In addition, the compounds are expected to provide curative effects to diseased hearts by preventing electrical and structural remodeling, a common cause of heart disease and sudden cardiac death. OMEICOS’ proprietary platform has high potential for further development in additional therapeutic indications in the cardiovascular area as well as in chronic inflammatory diseases.
“With their unique technology and seasoned team of experts, we believe that OMEICOS will fill the existing gap in AF treatment,” added Dr. Christian Schneider of Vesalius Biocapital Partners. “We are happy to support OMEICOS by leading such a strong syndicate of private and public investors and look forward to working with the company to advance its lead candidate through the pre-clinic into clinical development.”
Following the closing of the financing round, Christian Schneider and Gaston Matthyssens of Vesalius Biocapital Partners, Peter Seiler of SMS Group, Ute Mercker of VC Fonds Technologie Berlin, Martin Pfister of Hightech Gruenderfonds II GmbH & Co. KG, and co-founder Wolf-Hagen Schunck have joined the OMEICOS Supervisory Board.
About Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in humans. AF is characterized by an irregular heart rhythm originating from the heart’s upper chambers, resulting in inefficient blood pumping. AF leads to a significant reduction in quality of life, increases the risk of stroke, raises the risk of heart failure, and doubles the risk of death.
OMEICOS Therapeutics is a spin-off company from the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, co-founded and managed by Dr. Robert Fischer (Managing Director) and Dr. Karen Uhlmann. The company is developing oral, first-in-class, small molecules for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, initially focusing on AF. The company’s novel, small molecule AF therapy is based on proprietary synthetic analogues of omega-3 fatty acid metabolites. The technology was originally discovered and developed by a research team under the supervision of Dr. Wolf Schunck and Dr. Dominik Mueller at MDC and Dr. John R. Falck at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. OMEICOS’ lead candidate is envisioned for oral, once-daily treatment for patients with paroxysmal and persistent AF, with and without structural heart disease, for maintenance of sinus rhythm. www.omeicos.com
About Vesalius Biocapital Partners
Vesalius Biocapital Partners invests in companies active in human health through venture capital funds raised since 2007. With over EUR 150 million under management in two funds, Vesalius Biocapital Partners plays the role of lead investor in the large majority of its financing rounds. We invest in European life science companies in all stages of development with a sound proprietary technology and corresponding IP, unique team skills and a clear competitive edge based on solid data. Our investment strategy focuses on therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics. www.vesaliusbiocapital.com
About IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH
The IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft provides venture capital to innovative Berlin enterprises and has established itself as a market leader in the field of early stage financing in the location Berlin. The funds are used primarily for the development and market launch of innovative products or services, as well as for business concepts of creative industries. Currently two of the funds managed by the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft are in the investment phase, the VC Fonds Technologie Berlin with a fund size of EUR 60 million and the VC Fonds Kreativwirtschaft Berlin with a fund size of EUR 40 million. Both VC funds are financed by means of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE) administered by the State Berlin. Since 1997 the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft Berlin, in consortia with partners, has made EUR 1.006 million available to creative and technology-orientated companies; thereof, the portion invested by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft itself, as lead, co-lead or co-investor, was approximately EUR 141 million. www.ibb-bet.de
About KfW Group
KfW is one of the world’s leading promotional banks. With its decades of experience, KfW is committed to improving economic, social and ecological living conditions across the globe on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany and the federal states. To do this, it provided funds totaling EUR 74.1 billion in 2014 alone; and of this, 36 % went into measures for protecting the environment and combating climate change. KfW does not have any branches and does not hold customer deposits. It refinances its promotional business almost entirely through the international capital markets. In 2014 KfW raised EUR 57.4 billion for this purpose. In Germany, the KfW Group is represented in Frankfurt, Berlin, Bonn and Cologne. Its network includes 80 offices and representations around the world. www.kfw.de
About High-Tech Gruenderfonds (HTGF)
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 Energy, the KfW Banking Group, as well as strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 576 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 304 million HTGF II).
Ascenion GmbH is an IP asset management company with particular expertise in the life sciences. Ascenion advises and supports public research institutions in all aspects of technology transfer. The company places particular emphasis on coaching company founders and on active equity management and holds equity in 25 life-science companies. Ascenion is technology transfer partner of 22 research institutes in the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, as well as of the Charité, the Hannover Medical School, the research institute TWINCORE and the Universität zu Lübeck. www.ascenion.de
OMEICOS Therapeutics GmbH
Dr. Robert Fischer, Chief Scientific Officer and Managing Director
Phone: +49 (0) 30 9489 4810
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Gretchen Schweitzer or Blair Atkinson
Phone: +49 (0) 89 2424 3494 or +49 (0) 151 2348 2513