Rigontec GmbH’s RNA-Based Immunotherapeutics Grabs $11M In Series A Round
Published: Oct 14, 2014
October 14, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
German biopharmaceutical company Rigontec GmbH announced today that it has raised 9.45 million Euros, or more than $11 million, in a Series A financing round from Wellington Partners, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, NRW Bank and High-Tech Grunderfonds.
“I am delighted that Rigontec has secured significant funding from experienced life sciences investors to support the development of this exciting new business,” said Annegret de Baey-Diepolder, co-founder and interim CEO of Rigontec, in a statement. “We believe that our proprietary technology, based on world-class research, has the potential to create a new generation of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases.”
Rigontec GmbH focuses on developing RNA-based immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases. Currently, the company is developing synthetic ligands of a receptor of the innate immune system, Retinoic acid Inducible Gene I. The receptor, which is also known as RIG-I, recognizes viral RNA. RNA motifs that activate RIG-I encourage the destruction of diseased cells.
Rigontec’s lead compound ImOI100 targets RIG-I. It is currently being evaluated for development in cancer types, including prostate cancer.
“Our RIG-I ligands are an innovative class of compounds which directly target the molecular heart of tumor cells,” said Gunther Hartmann, co-founder of Rigontec GmbH. “RIG-I activation drives the tumor microenvironment to become an immunogenic tissue - essentially turning tumor tissue into a therapeutic tumor vaccine. This is a potent therapeutic principle by itself and it has the potential to synergistically complement the molecular principle of immune checkpoint inhibitors."
In the past, ImOI100 has shown that it can assist with tumor regression in the body. Rigontec’s pipeline includes other candidates with gene silencing and inhibitory capabilities.
“Rigontec has a truly different approach to cancer immunotherapy based on ground-breaking science in the up-and-coming field of RNA sensing,” said Regina Hodits, partner at Wellington Partners. “This forms a solid basis for developing medicines which may allow for both near-term efficacy and also potentially long-term protection.”
Rigontec began in January 2014, spinning off from the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Bonn. Co-founders Gunther Hartmann and Veit Hornung are responsible for discovering 3pRNA as the ligand for RIG-I.