V-Bio Ventures invests in Augustine Therapeutics, a VIB and KU Leuven spin-off to fight neuromuscular diseases
Ghent, Belgium, December 16, 2019 – Today V-Bio Ventures announces its investment in Augustine Therapeutics, a new venture developing innovative therapeutics for patients suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. A spin-off of VIB and KU Leuven, Augustine raises a seed-round of 4.2 million euro with V-Bio Ventures, PMV, Advent France Biotechnology, Gemma Frisius Fund and VIB.
Augustine Therapeutics, a spin-off from VIB and KU Leuven, focuses on the discovery and development of innovative medicines to benefit patients suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and other neuromuscular diseases. CMT is one of the most common hereditary disorders of the peripheral nervous system, affecting approximately 10 to 30 in 100,000 people globally. The disease is characterized by a progressive denervation of muscles, resulting in a slow decline of the patient’s day-to-day functioning. The current therapeutics market for CMT is limited to supportive management of symptoms.
The newly formed company is rooted in the ground-breaking research of the VIB-KU Leuven labs of Ludo Van Den Bosch and from a collaboration between the labs of Joris de Wit and Bart De Strooper (both VIB-KU Leuven). According to Ludo Van Den Bosch: “We uncovered several biological pathways in peripheral neuropathies that represent promising therapeutic targets for CMT. The validation and in-depth study of the underlying biology of these targets now provides a first-rate foundation for the development of novel therapeutics.”
Augustine Therapeutics completes a seed financing round of 4.2 million euro. The company is the result of a collaborative effort of VIB, KU Leuven, V-Bio Ventures and PMV, joined by Advent France Biotechnology and Gemma Frisius Fund. Augustine Therapeutics is a great example of VIB’s approach to company co-creation with business partners and investors. In anticipation of attracting a dedicated management team for Augustine, the day-to day interim management of the company is assumed by Ward Capoen (V-Bio Ventures) and Jérôme Van Biervliet (VIB).
Ward Capoen, Principal at V-Bio Ventures: “We are proud to have built an international syndicate of renowned investors for Augustine Therapeutics together with VIB. We remain involved in the management of the company while we prepare Augustine for a bright future in search of novel treatment options that will benefit patients suffering from neuromuscular diseases.”
The VIB Discovery Sciences team is taking the lead in the preclinical development of Augustine’s new therapeutics. Jérôme Van Biervliet, head of VIB Discovery Sciences: “We launched Augustine Therapeutics to start the journey of bringing truly innovative products to patients suffering from serious neuropathies. The scientific discoveries of the VIB-KU Leuven scientists provide an ideal starting point for the pipeline of the new company. From here on, the senior, industry-trained team of VIB Discovery Sciences will bring the required deep expertise in drug discovery for early-stage drug development.”
About V-Bio Ventures
V-Bio Ventures is an independent venture capital firm specialized in building and financing young, innovative life science companies. V-Bio Ventures was established in 2015 and works closely with Belgium-based VIB, one of the world’s premier life science institutes. The fund invests throughout Europe in start-up and early-stage companies with high growth potential, focusing on technologies that provide transformational improvements in the biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and agricultural sectors. More information: www.v-bio.ventures.
VIB is an excellence-based entrepreneurial research institute in life sciences that focuses on translating basic scientific results into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. VIB’s Innovation & Business team currently has a portfolio of 230 patent families. This team conducts about 120 partnering agreements with innovative companies each year. VIB is also firmly rooted in a long-standing tradition of setting up start-up companies. Since its foundation in 1996, VIB has created more than 20 start-up companies. VIB is funded by the Flemish government and works in close partnership with five Flemish universities – Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Hasselt University. More information: www.vib.be.
About KU Leuven
As the number one European university for innovation, KU Leuven actively invests in launching innovative technologies in the commercial market by creating spin-off companies, securing and licensing intellectual property, and collaborating with industry. KU Leuven supports researchers and students in transforming their innovative ideas and technologies into commercial products and services that impact people’s lives worldwide. As such, KU Leuven encourages young entrepreneurs to develop a solid business plan, to validate the market and build a coherent team. Since its creation in 1972, KU Leuven Research & Development has supported the creation and growth of 128 spin-off companies, directly employing more than 6,700 people. KU Leuven’s spin-off companies constitute a huge economic leverage for the Leuven region. In the period from 2005 to 2018, KU Leuven invested 12.5 million euro in its spin-off companies, and 1 billion euro of external capital was raised. 103 of KU Leuven’s spin-off companies, of which the first was established in 1979, are still active today. Many have an international leading position. Seven spin-off companies have had an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock exchange. More information: https://lrd.kuleuven.be/en.
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