Evotec spins off auto-immune disease company Topas Therapeutics
Evotec has announced the formation of a spin-off company in the field of nanoparticle-based therapeutics to treat immunological disorders. Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures and Gimv participated together with Evotec in the EUR 14 million ($ 15.75 million) Series A round of Topas Therapeutics. Evotec will remain the largest shareholder after the financing round.
The new company, Topas Therapeutics, aims to build a unique pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat autoimmune diseases. The proceeds of the Series A funding enable Topas to expand and accelerate its proprietary liver-based tolerance induction platform and to progress with its own product development efforts in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis into clinical proof-of-concept stage.
Dr. Werner Lanthaler, chief executive officer of Evotec and interim chairman of the supervisory board of Topas, said, "We are very excited by Topas' unique product-platform technology, which has significant breakthrough potential. The company formation of Topas is the first example of an acceleration of our business model representing an optimal risk-reward profile up to clinical proof-of-concept stage for our shareholders in selected fields of high strategic medical relevance."
Peter Finan, Ph.D., partner at Epidarex Capital, said, "Topas Therapeutics' unique approach to tolerance has the potential to lead to transformative medicines in diseases of high unmet medical need."
Topas emerges from the neuro portfolio of Bionamics, which was acquired by Evotec in March 2014 and is an early-stage therapeutics company using ground breaking nanoparticle technology to target autoimmune and inflammatory diseases via the induction of antigen specific immune tolerance in the liver. The platform has been exclusively licensed from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE,) where it was invented by Johannes Herkel, Jörg Heeren and other colleagues in Hamburg. It is anticipated that Topas will advance their initial program targeting multiple sclerosis into clinical development in 2017.
Epidarex Capital invests in early-stage, high growth life science and health technology companies in under-ventured markets within the U.K. and U.S. Epidarex was created to meet the need for more sector-specific risk capital for young companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities. The fund's international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market.