- Funds to be used to progress viral vaccine pipeline and to explore applications in cancer immunotherapy
Vienna Austria, November 4, 2013 - Hookipa Biotech AG, a company pioneering a new class of vaccines, today announced that it has raised €20 million ($27.5 million) in a series B equity financing. Existing investors Sofinnova Partners and Forbion Capital Partners led the financing with three new investors, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners joining the round.
Dr. Katherine Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of Hookipa Biotech said: “We have made very substantial progress in the last two years and are delighted to have the support of a highly experienced syndicate of venture investors. I would like to thank our initial investors for their strong confidence in Hookipa and I look forward to working with our new investors as we enter into the exciting next stage of development.”
Hookipa has developed Vaxwave®, a novel and proprietary viral vector platform with exquisite capacity for the stimulation of antibody and CD8+ T cell immunity. The Company’s lead product candidate based on this platform, HB101, is a vaccine against cytomegalovirus (CMV) that is currently in advanced pre-clinical development and testing. The new investment will be used to progress HB101 into Phase I clinical testing and to further industrialize Vaxwave® technology, both for partnering and for building a robust product pipeline in the area of infectious diseases and cancer.
Hookipa’s Vaxwave® technology exhibits great potential for cancer immunotherapy, since Vaxwave® vectors are not inhibited by anti-vector immunity and can be repeatedly administered for stimulating potent CD8+ T cell responses against tumor targets. The series B financing will thus also be used to explore applications for novel cancer therapies.
Graziano Seghezzi, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, the founding investor of Hookipa Biotech, commented: “Since Sofinnova’s seed investment in early 2011, Hookipa has developed from a scientific concept into an innovative early-stage vaccine company. Dr. Cohen’s decisive leadership has been instrumental in rapidly assembling a team of experienced vaccine specialists that have made great progress with the Vaxwave® technology. The strength and diversification of the investors in this Series B syndicate is testament to the potential of the technology and the abilities of the team. I am looking forward to continuing to work with Dr. Cohen and the board to successfully progress Hookipa through its next phase of growth.”
The Company also welcomes Dr. Frank Kalkbrenner from the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund as a new member of the company’s Supervisory Board and Dr. Yuji Iizawa from Takeda Ventures and Dr. Markus Hosang from BioMedPartners as Observers. “We believe the Vaxwave® technology is a ground-breaking platform with potential not only as a prophylactic and therapeutic vaccine in infectious diseases but also as a potential therapeutic approach in the field of oncology. I am pleased to be joining the board together with two seasoned early stage investors, Forbion and Sofinnova, and look forward to working with the experienced team at Hookipa Biotech” commented Dr. Kalkbrenner.
This financing brings the total equity finance raised by Hookipa to €27 million. It announced a series A investment of €7 million in October 2011.
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About Hookipa Biotech
Hookipa Biotech AG is developing a new class of innovative prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines based on its proprietary Vaxwave® technology. The Vaxwave® technology is a novel vaccine platform using a replication-defective viral vector for the prevention and treatment of multiple infectious diseases and cancer. The platform is one of the most promising new technologies for next generation vaccines due to its ability to stimulate both potent B-cell and CD8+ T-cell immune responses. Vaxwave® has been validated in various disease models. Unlike other vectors, Vaxwave® vaccines can be administered repeatedly to boost the immune system. The Company is focused on the development of its lead vaccine candidate HB101, a vaccine for immunization against cytomegalovirus (CMV) and plans to further industrialize the Vaxwave® technology and build a robust product pipeline in the area of infectious diseases and cancer. Hookipa has raised a total of €27 million in equity finance from internationally renowned venture capital investors including Sofinnova Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, Takeda Ventures and BioMedPartners.For more information, please visit www.hookipabiotech.com
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France. For more than 40 years, the firm has backed nearly 500 companies at different stages of their development – pure creations, spin-offs, as well as turnaround situations – and worked alongside Europe’s key entrepreneurs in the Life Sciences industry. With €1.3 billion of funds under management, Sofinnova Partners has created market leaders with its experienced team and hands-on approach in building portfolio companies through to exit. For more information, please visit www.sofinnova.fr
About Forbion Capital Partners
Forbion Capital Partners is a dedicated Life Sciences venture capital firm with offices in Naarden, The Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. Forbion invests in life sciences companies in drug discovery & development as well as in medical device companies addressing substantial unmet medical needs. Forbion’s investment team of nine investment professionals has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in Rhein Biotech, Crucell, Neutec, Glycart, Borean, Impella, Alantos, Acorda, Fovea, PanGenetics, Argenta Discovery and Biovex. Current assets under management exceed $500M, split between three active funds and comprising some 28 promising portfolio companies. Forbion Capital Partners Fund II is supported by the European Investment Fund through its ERP and LfA facilities. Forbion co-manages Biogeneration Ventures, an early stage fund focused on (academic) spin-outs and seed investments in the Netherlands. For more information, please visit www.forbion.com
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
The Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund was formed in March 2010 to invest in biotechnology and start-up companies to help drive innovation in medical science. These may include - but are not limited to - novel technologies to address so far undrugable targets, new generation vaccines and new biological entities, such as antibody-dependent oncolysis. Novel therapeutic targets and disease-related biomarkers, as well as new approaches in regenerative medicine, are an additional focus. For more information, please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim-venture.com
About Takeda Ventures
Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI) is the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. A wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda America Holdings, Inc., TVI started operations in November 2001 and aims to
encourage and support therapeutic innovation through early stage capital investment and provision of access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company. For more information, please visit www.takedaventures.com
BioMedPartners AG is an independent healthcare-dedicated investment firm based in Basel, Switzerland, that provides private equity and mezzanine financing to private early- to mid-stage healthcare and life science companies in Switzerland and neighboring regions (Alpine Rim). BioMedPartners have invested in over 30 companies, several of which have already successfully completed an IPO (Arpida AG, Santhera AG, Evolva Holding AG), or a trade sale (Okairos AG, ESBATech AG, Glycart Biotechnology AG). BioMedPartners currently manage three funds (BiomedInvest I & II and BioMedCredit). With total funds of more than CHF 250 million under management and a strong team of experienced specialists and industry experts, BioMedPartners have established themselves as one of the leading early-stage investors in Europe. BioMedPartners currently invest out of their BioMedInvest II LP fund, which has a size of CHF 106 million, and was closed in 2009. For more information, please visit www.biomedvc.com
Issued for and on behalf of Hookipa Biotech AG by College Hill. For further information please contact:
At the Company
Dr. Katherine Cohen
Chief Executive Officer
Hookipa Biotech AG
1030 Vienna, Austria
Katherine Lynch/Sue Charles
College Hill Life Sciences
+44 (0)20 7866 7855