, Dec. 2, 2010
/PRNewswire/ -- Regenesance BV, an Amsterdam
-based specialty pharma focusing on developing drugs to treat acute and chronic nerve disorders, announces the closure of its first seed stage financing round. The investment was made by Life Sciences Fund Amsterdam, an independent venture capital fund established in 2009 to finance biomedical companies in the greater Amsterdam
Regenesance was established in November 2009 as a spin-out of the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam (AMC Amsterdam). The Company was founded on scientific work from AMC researcher Prof. Frank Baas. He found that an innate part of the immune system ("complement") is activated during nerve degeneration. Research from his lab suggests that by reducing complement activation it may be possible to treat many diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), myasthenia gravis (MG), and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
MS is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the body's central nervous system. There is no cure. Damaged nerves cannot communicate, leading to severe physical and cognitive disabilities. In The Netherlands, about 16,000 people have the disease with about 3 million afflicted worldwide. Prof. Baas identified compounds that decrease complement activity and significantly reduce disease severity in a research model of MS. The Company will use funding to advance a lead compound into a pre-clinical testing program required by national regulatory authorities for drug approval. If successful, it would be as a major step toward conducting a future MS clinical trial with a pharma partner.
The founders of Regenesance are an international team with extensive experience in the management of a life science company. Dr. Frank Baas is a co-founder of the Company as well as a Professor of Neurogenetics, Head of the Neurogenetics Laboratory and Genome Analysis facility at AMC. Co-founders Dr. Kees Fluiter and Dr. Valeria Ramaglia are research scientists working at the Neurogenetics Laboratory. Dr. Robert L. Buchanan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company, holds a Ph.D (Biochemistry) from the University of California and was a partner at the law firm of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, Boston MA (USA). Mikael Orum is a co-founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Regenesance. He is also a co-founder of several biotechnology companies such as Exiqon A/S (EXQ:DC) and Cureon A/S (now Santaris Pharma A/S).
Robert L Buchanan, CEO of Regenesance: "We are grateful to receive the support of Life Sciences Fund Amsterdam. The funding will help us advance our best compound into pre-clinical development. This step is required by regulatory bodies before conducting a clinical trial. Work in research models suggests that our compounds may be useful in the treatment of MS and perhaps other chronic nerve degeneration disorders for which there is no cure."
Tom Schwarz, Partner at the Life Sciences Fund Amsterdam: "We are happy with this investment in Regenesance. If successful, the Company's lead compounds will help patients with severe neurodegeneration lead better lives. I am personally looking forward to working closely with the management team as a new member of the company's supervisory board."
Regenesance BV (www.regenesance.com)
Life Sciences Fund Amsterdam (www.lsfamsterdam.nl)