Leiden, The Netherlands, 8 July 2020 - VarmX, a biotech company focusing on the development of innovative approaches for the reversal of anticoagulation, today announces the completion of a €32 million Series B financing round.
The oversubscribed round was co-led by Ysios Capital and INKEF Capital; Lundbeckfonden Ventures and LSP joined the syndicate. Founding investor, BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) and the regional economic development fund, InnovationQuarter, continued their support and also participated in the round.
Currently, over 10 million patients in the US and Europe are treated with oral factor Xa inhibitors (FXa DOACs) as anticoagulation therapy in large chronic indications such as the avoidance of stroke in atrial fibrillation and the prevention of deep vein thrombosis. Each year, 2-3% of patients taking FXa DOACs experience spontaneous and severe life-threatening bleeding. Furthermore, a significant number of patients taking these anticoagulants have to undergo emergency surgery, with the associated risk of bleeding.
VarmX’s lead compound VMX-COO1 is a modified recombinant coagulation factor X in development for the treatment of severe spontaneous bleeding in patients taking FXa DOACs. It is also aimed at the prevention of bleeding in patients requiring emergency surgery. VMX-COO1 is insensitive to FXa DOACS and is able to restore the coagulation cascade. It is expected to offer a number of clinical advantages, including universal dosing regardless of the FXa DOACs used, ease of administration and absence of pro-thrombotic risk. In addition to VMX-COO1, VarmX is also working on other innovative agents that are aimed at the reversal of future classes of anticoagulants, particularly those targeting factor XI(a).
VMX-COO1 is based on research conducted by VarmX’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Pieter Reitsma, Professor Emeritus at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). VarmX has obtained an exclusive license to these inventions.
The proceeds from the Series B financing will enable the Company to obtain clinical proof of concept through a first in human (FIH) study of VMX-COO1, and to further progress the program towards the start of registrational studies in both the severe bleeding and emergency surgery indications. The Company will also use the funds to accelerate the manufacturing trajectory for VMX-COO1 towards commercial-scale, extend profiling studies for optimal clinical and commercial positioning, and advance its discovery platform program for next generation reversal agents.
In the context of accelerated manufacturing, VarmX recently appointed Dr. Bo Persson as SVP, CMC Development & Project Management. Dr. Persson has extensive experience with the production of recombinant blood factors from his tenure at Novo Nordisk, CMC biologics (now AGC) and Zymogenetics. VarmX is planning to further strengthen the team with the recruitment of an experienced Chief Medical Officer.
VarmX is also announcing additions to the Company’s Board of Directors. Guillem Laporta of Ysios Capital, Roel Bulthuis of INKEF Capital, Casper Breum of Lundbeckfonden Ventures and John de Koning of LSP will represent the new investors on the Board of VarmX, joining Oskar Slotboom of BGV, CEO, Alexander Vos and Chairman, Jan Öhrström.
Commenting on this successful closing of the Series B financing, Alexander Vos, CEO of VarmX, said: “We are delighted to have attracted leading European investors to join the VarmX story. This is great validation of our approach and science. These proceeds will enable us to accelerate the manufacturing trajectory and bring VMX-COO1 into clinical trials. We look forward to bringing VMX-COO1 to patients who currently have limited options to effective and safe treatments.”
Guillem Laporta of Ysios Capital, commented:
“We were attracted to VarmX by the strong scientific basis of the Company’s programs. The data generated so far suggests that VMX-COO1 can become a differentiated treatment solution in an ever growing market.”
Roel Bulthuis of INKEF Capital, added:
“VarmX has the potential to provide a paradigm shift for the hundreds of thousands of patients that face the risk of complications of their anticoagulant use. We’re proud to back the VarmX team in their quest to bring this program to the market.”
Oskar Slotboom of BGV, stated:
“The work of Reitsma led to this scientifically very elegant approach to address the issue of FX DOAC-related bleedings and the risks related to emergency surgeries performed on FX DOAC users. This investment round is the result of bringing together a great team and the excellent pre-clinical results that they have delivered to date.”