Elara Pharmaceuticals GmbH Raises E4.6 Million And Names Christof Antz as Chief Business Officer
11/30/2009 8:11:38 AM
eidelberg, Germany, November 26, 2009 – ELARA Pharmaceuticals GmbH, a biotech
company focused on the development of drugs for the treatment of different cancers,
announced today the closing of a € 2.6 million Series A financing round, which will trigger
an additional € 2 million from the BMBF GOBio and the Biotechnologie Rhein-Neckar
(BioRN) Spitzencluster programs, leading to a total funding of € 4.6 million.
Lead investor EMBL Ventures, Heidelberg, was joined by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
(KfW), Bonn, and Wagnisfinanzierungsgesellschaft für Technologieförderung in Rheinland-
Pfalz mbH (WFT), Mainz, a subsidiary of Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz
ELARA Pharmaceuticals also announced the appointment of Dr. Christof Antz, formerly
Managing Partner at EMBL Ventures and Chairman of ELARA’s Board, as Chief Business
Officer and member of the Executive Management Team.
"Christof has a track record as a biotech entrepreneur and investor and will significantly
enhance our capacities in business development. As we develop our lead compounds
towards the clinic, partnering with pharma companies and raising additional funds will be
essential,” said Dr. Joe Lewis, CEO and co-founder of Elara.
“We are pleased to have attracted this group of experienced biotech investors,” stated Dr.
Antz, Chief Business Officer of ELARA Pharmaceuticals. "The proceeds of this round will
enable us to advance our lead product candidate through an IND/IMPD application for the
treatment of Multiple Myeloma as the first targeted indication. In a short period of time,
ELARA has been able to develop its preclinical hypoxia signaling antagonist program to an
impressive, best–in-class series of drug candidates with a broad indication spectrum."
In addition, Dr. Gerhard Keilhauer, CEO of Lipid Therapeutics GmbH, Heidelberg, and former
Head of the Preclinical Oncology at BASF Pharma/Knoll in Massachusetts, has joined the
Board of ELARA. He brings in more than 20 years of preclinical and clinical drug
development expertise in the field of oncology. Dr. Sue Foden and Dr. David Owen continue
as Board members.
"The principles of hypoxia signaling inhibitors pursued by ELARA for fighting tumors are
attractive and novel,” commented Dr. Stefan Herr at EMBL Ventures. “The induction of
Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) is a key strategy of cancer cells, which allows them to survive
and even further proliferate under hypoxic conditions. We believe that ELARA’s drug
candidates, which stop tumor growth by HIF inhibition, offer great potential to overcome the
limitations of current treatment options, such as drug resistance and severe side effects. In
sum, ELARA is developing a proprietary, high value pipeline of anti-cancer drugs, which will
create a compelling value proposition for future pharma partners and investors”.
About ELARA Pharmaceuticals
ELARA Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2006 as a spin-out of the European Molecular
Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. The Company focuses on the discovery
and development of innovative Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) antagonizing drugs for the
treatment of different cancers. The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) signaling pathway is central
for regulating the transcription of genes in response to decreases of oxygen, or hypoxia. As
an example, HIF is promoting the formation of blood vessels, but it also stimulates growth
and deregulates apoptotic processes in favor of cell survival. In cancer, HIF is therefore
crucial for tumor growth, vascularization, formation of metastases and treatment failure. Elara
has already built a portfolio of HIF signaling pathway inhibitors, which in vivo demonstrate a
favorable pharmacokinetic profile and low toxicity. The Company’s lead product candidate is
a novel chemotype with excellent exposure and potent activity against Multiple Myeloma in
various cell and tissue lines. The team of ELARA has developed two additional proprietary
backup series with a high potential for additional cancer indications. The most advanced
program has reached animal efficacy and tolerability testing. For more information, please
About EMBL Ventures
EMBL Ventures is an early stage investor, currently managing € 26 million on behalf of major
institutional investors in Europe. The close relationship with the European Molecular Biology
Laboratory (EMBL) and its technology transfer organization EMBL Enterprise Management
Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) allows EMBL Ventures to finance disruptive first-inclass
technologies in an entrepreneurial start-up environment, followed by a partnering
transaction with a suitable partner seeking to acquire external product innovation. For more
information, please visit www.embl-ventures.com.
The KfW-Bankengruppe supports with its investment vehicle KfW Mittelstandsbank founders
and medium-sized businesses by classical equity investments and numerous other products
to strengthen their capital resources. KfW-Bankengruppe supports investments of German
companies nationwide and abroad.
The start-up phases of young technology companies are supported with equity capital from
the ERP-Startfonds. The Startfonds is matching private equity capital and is only co-investing
with other investors. This increases interest from private investors for entering the market.
For more information, please visit www.kfw-mittelstandsbank.de.
Wagnisfinanzierungsgesellschaft für Technologieförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz mbH (WFT) is
a subsidiary of Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) GmbH. Using the funds
of ISB, WFT participates via equity investments or silent partnerships in the financing of
small start-up companies, thus strengthening their capital resources and providing means for
a successful company start. The financial means provided by the land Rheinland-Pfalz are
co-financed by resources from the operational program „Wachstum durch Innovation“ from
the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE). Please visit www.isb.rlp.de to learn
more about pre-conditions, funding volume and procedures of WFT or find appropriate