The Catalan Aelix achieved 11.5 million euros to create a vaccine against AIDS
Aelix Therapeutics, the company created the first development consortium Hivacat HIV treatments, has secured funding of 11.5 million euros earmarked for their research to create a therapeutic vaccine immunogen -from HTI-, “the first one you can cure infection in a patient. ” In investing, led by Ysios Capital (venture capital specialized in life sciences based in Barcelona), participated the equity manager of La Caixa, Caixa Capital Risc, and the US fund Innovation Johnson & Johnson. Aelix Therapeutics is led by renowned scientists: its founders are Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, Josep Maria Gatell, Christian Brander and biotechnology entrepreneur Jordi Naval.
Besides the medical challenge of this operation (more than 36.9 million people have HIV in the world), its characters include a major landmark in science model of excellence in Catalonia: first, a project It involves cutting edge science (Can Ruti and hospital Clinic), local industry (Esteve), public capital (research budgets Generalitat, Government and European Union), philanthropic (Obra Social La Caixa) and private (Ysios, Caixa Capital Risc) has He has been able to attract international capital (Johnson & Johnson). “It is an example of the contribution of all actors in the Catalan scientific industry. This is already happening in Tel Aviv or Boston, and now in Barcelona, ”says Josep Lluís Sanfeliu, Ysios Capital partner.
Aelix working on a therapeutic vaccine. That is, “retrains the patient’s immune system. There are a dozen companies in the world with different approaches to it, all in early stages, “says Jordi Naval. “It’s a hot topic, working from different angles, and the data is good.” Aelix vision anticipates fewer side effects in patients and significantly reduced the cost of treatment. “This is our aim, still have to prove it, some time before the product reaches the market,” he added.
With the money earned now, Aelix be reached until 2019 to carry out studies to assess the safety and efficacy in infected patients, equivalent to Phase II clinical study. He has so far tested in animals, and later this year will begin testing in healthy volunteers and patients. “Then, depending on the results, we will think how to complete the trial with the phase III (involving thousands of patients in various countries is different scale), if investors, or a pharmaceutical incorporated”.
Hivacat is a consortium of public-private research created in 2006 by two research centers in more developed AIDS and international reference, the AIDS Research Institute IrsiCaixa-Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol-Can Ruti (who runs Bonaventura Clotet ) and the Department of Infectious Diseases and AIDS of Hospital Clínic de Barcelona (Josep Maria Gatell).
In 2009 the Esteve pharmaceutical joined the Obra Social La Caixa and the Generalitat, through the departments of Health and Economy and Coneixement, and the Clinic Foundation. Hivacat coordinator is the researcher Christian Brander, Harvard hired by the Generalitat Icrea program. Since its founding twenty years ago, IrsiCaixa has received 3.1 million euros from the Obra Social La Caixa.
Hivacat has launched eight lines of research addressing major obstacles in the development of HIV vaccines, both preventive and therapeutic. “One of the projects is the therapeutic vaccine candidate HTI. In 2014 came to a point that needed a high volume of investment and decided to form a spin-off that acquires the rights and seeks private investment, “says Naval, companies with experience in the health sector and current director of the Foundation Bosch i Gimpera).
Ysios participated in the development of the business model and has led the investment round (the bottom Ysios Biofund II provides 3.75 million) with Caixa Capital Risc, a regular partner in the main operations of the sector, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. The operation has been advised by the law firm RCD. Aelix joined his advice to Karen Wagner, Ysios; Jose Antonio Mesa, Caixa Capital Risc; Jordi Naval, co-founder and a representative of JJDC. The company currently has a team of four people in the Parc Cientific Barcelona.
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