Start-up CalTIC secures up to EUR 3 million in seed financing to develop a new class of drugs targeting TRPC channels
Dortmund, Germany, and Leeds, UK– September 28th, 2022. The KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (KHAN-I) has committed up to EUR 3 million in milestone-dependent payments to CalTIC, a Dortmund based start-up, for the discovery of a new class of drugs.
The start-up builds on a long-term collaboration between the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (MPI-MP) and the University of Leeds (UoL), which resulted in the validation of transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channel inhibition as a promising new approach for the treatment of widespread conditions, including metabolic diseases, obesity, and heart hypertrophy. Using the proceeds, the founding partners will continue their collaboration to advance their results to preclinical stage. CalTIC’s stakeholders are UoL, LDC, the Max Planck Society (MPG), Prof. Marc Freichel at the Institute of Pharmacology at Heidelberg University, and KHAN-I.
“The inhibition of TRPC channels presents an entirely new approach to treating metabolic and heart disease,” says Bert Klebl, CEO & CSO of LDC. “It holds significant potential for patients, and we are very much looking forward to continuing our collaboration with this group of excellent scientists and clinicians to translate it into practice.”
CalTIC’s TRPC inhibitors block binding sites that were originally discovered by Prof. David J. Beech (UoL) and Prof. Herbert Waldmann (MPI-MP) as targets of Englerin A. Results from various in vivo models support both the potency and safety of the approach of the newly developed TRPC channel inhibitors in metabolic and heart disease.
“We are delighted that KHAN-I has placed great confidence in CalTIC,” says Klaus Dinkel, CEO of CalTIC, “With KHAN’s investment and our partners’ continued commitment, we are perfectly positioned to exploit the exciting project.”
“For drugs that inhibit receptors, we refer to receptor subtypes, such as beta-adrenoceptor-blocking drugs and so on. But for calcium channels, we refer to calcium-channel blockers as if there is only one type of calcium channel, yet we now know this isn’t the case – there are many. Our CalTIC therapeutic innovation partnership will target some of these new calcium channels. It’s a hugely exciting moment to see the potential for new medicines after years of effort getting to this point,” states Prof. David Beech, UoL School of Medicine.
Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. The LDC takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals as well as candidate nomination. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from research and industry, the LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule and antibody leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Roche, Apeiron, e.g. In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation.
Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de
About KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I)
KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I) is an early-stage life sciences venture fund with € 70 million under management. Our mission is to create value through cooperative drug development partnerships with academic innovators in Europe. KHAN-I focuses on first-in-class therapies for attractive markets with a high unmet medical need. The fund is managed by Khanu Management GmbH, an experienced team of professionals with proven track records in early-stage drug development, academic spin-offs as well as pharma licensing and partnering.
KHAN-I received an investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF) with support of InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (“EFSI”) under the Investment Plan for Europe. KHAN-I is also supported by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (AWS with funds provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Austrian Foundation for Research, Technology and Development), Max Planck Foundation and Thyssen’sche Handelsgesellschaft mbH.
For more information visit www.khanu.de
About University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38.000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes. We are a top ten university for research and impact power in the UK, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, and are in the top 100 of the QS World University Rankings 2020. The University was awarded a Gold rating by the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework in 2017, recognising its ‘consistently outstanding’ teaching and learning provision. Twenty-six of our academics have been awarded National Teaching Fellowships – more than any other institution in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – reflecting the excellence of our teaching.
Further information at: www.leeds.ac.uk
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
QLi5 Therapeutics Attracts EUR 10 Million in Series A Financing
Development of novel proteasome inhibitors for treating cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
Dortmund, September 7th, 2022 — Qli5 Therapeutics GmbH (QLi5), a German-Korean joint venture developing a new class of proteasome inhibitors, has closed a EUR 10 million series A financing round with an international consortium of investors including SV Investment (Korea), KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (Germany), Atinum Investment (Korea) and DAOL Investment (former KTB, Korea).
QLi5 will use the proceeds to advance its pipeline of highly-differentiated proteasome inhibitors to the start of clinical trials addressing various indications. The proteasome functions as cellular ‘garbage processing facility’ eliminating misfolded, damaged or expired proteins. It is therefore critical to cell survival and presents a compelling target for the treatment of multiple conditions that involve an overproduction of non-functional proteins, including cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.
Based on the leading proteasome expertise of Nobel laureate and company co-founder Prof. Robert Huber and a multi-year collaboration between his lab at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and the Lead Discovery Center (LDC), QLi5 has established a versatile platform for the design of proteasome inhibitors with outstanding selectivity, unique non-covalent binding characteristics and favourable pharmacodynamic properties.
“This new class of proteasome inhibitors has significant advantages over first-generation approaches and opens a wide field of therapeutic applications. We are very much impressed with both, the platform and the progress made so far”, Representative of SV Investment says.
“QLi5 demonstrates what can be achieved when excellent science meets with professional drug discovery and development expertise”, adds Kiyean Nam, CEO and CSO of Qurient, co-founder of QLi5 and long-term strategic partner of the Max-Planck-Society and the LDC.
“We are glad to see the program advance so rapidly and efficiently. With the financing and added management expertise it is well on track to deliver on its promise for many patients who currently lack sufficient treatment options”, says Bert Klebl, CEO of LDC.
“The commitment of this renowned group of investors highlights the exceptional potential of QLi5’s proteasome programs. I am looking forward to being part of this team of brilliant scientists and drug developers. Together, we are perfectly set to bringing the approach full fruition, medically and commercially”, says Martin Huber, CEO of QLi5.
“The current financing round is straightforwardly enabling new opportunities for treating patients with cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. We are perfectly satisfied, that the groundbreaking work from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, put into experienced hands in industry, lays the foundation for this promising endeavour”, explains Dieter Link, licensing and patent manager at Max Planck Innovation.
QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH
Tel.: +49 177 8524152
QLi5 was founded in 2019 as a joint venture of Qurient Co. Ltd, Korea, Max Planck Society (MPG), Germany, Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany, Nobel laureate Prof. Robert Huber, emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Germany. The company has established a proprietary platform for the development of proteasome inhibitors with high selectivity and unique, non-covalent binding properties. Using the proceeds of a EUR 10 million series A financing in 2022, the company is advancing its pipeline and preparing clinical trials in various indications including cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
The key role of the proteasome is the elimination of misfolded, damaged or expired proteins. The principle of proteasome inhibition was discovered in many years of basic research by the Max Planck Society. The extremely complex multi-subunit protein 3D-structure of the constitutive and immuno-proteasome was resolved by Prof. Huber’s lab. This solid structural understanding enabled the development of novel chemical series of proteasome inhibitors with a wide range of selectivity.
Further information at: www.qli5tx.com
About SV Investment, Korea
SV Investment is a venture capital & private equity firm headquartered in Seoul, Korea, with offices located in Boston, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Jakarta. Founded in 2006, we’ve invested in more than 220 companies, and made 48 successful IPOs. We invest in sectors with high growth potentials, mainly TMT, consumer & entertainment, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. As a strategic value creator, we prefer to lead the investment round and form a sound partnership with our investee companies, support the company in globalization, business development, strategy, HR etc.
About KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co. KG (KHAN-I)
KHAN-I is a limited partnership under German law with the European Investment Fund (EIF), Max Planck Foundation (MPF), Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (AWS), Thyssen’sche Handelsgesellschaft, and KHAN-I Vermögensverwaltung GmbH & Co. KG as non-managing limited partners and Khanu Management GmbH (KHANU) as general partner and fund manager. The purpose of KHAN-I is to invest in innovative drug discovery projects and spin-out companies, primarily originating from academic sources, at the discovery, pre-clinical and clinical development stage for human healthcare and, opportunistically, veterinary care as well as to commercialise the results and products of the investments and, thus, to participate, directly or indirectly, in future proceeds.
About Atinum Investment, Korea
Atinum Investment is a top-notch Venture Capital firm established in 1988. Our investment philosophy revolves around the idea of finding the right intrinsic value of venture companies. With the insight of the various industry specialists at hand at Atinum Investment, we have comprehensive expertise in unearthing companies with high growth potential. Atinum manages Assets of more than US$1 billion in 26 funds and has invested in 400+ companies since its company set up in 1988.
About DAOL Investment (former KTB), Korea
DAOL (former KTB) was founded in 1981 as the first Venture Capital firm in Korea. Since then, DAOL has successfully managed over US$3 billion in venture and growth capital funds. We have learned how to uncover value for our portfolio companies and build lasting relationships. Throughout DAOL’s over 40 years of history, more than 250 portfolio companies of DAOL have gone public in Korea and abroad, accounting for over 10% of Korean IPOs. DAOL has offices in Seoul, Shanghai and Silicon Valley.
About Qurient, Co. Ltd.
Qurient, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for oncology and inflammatory diseases from discovery to human proof-of-concept through a virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient’s pipeline includes multiple drug candidates in preclinical to phase 2 clinical development.
For more info, please visit www.qurient.com.
About Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC)
LDC was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. The LDC takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals as well as candidate nomination. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from research and industry, the LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule and antibody leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Roche, Apeiron, e.g. In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation.
Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de
About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress.
Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.de
Qurient Announces U.S. FDA Clearance of IND Application for Q901, a Novel Cancer Therapy
Phase 1/2 clinical study in patients with advanced solid tumor expected to start in Q2/2022
Dortmund, Germany, and Seongnam-Si, Korea, February 9th, 2022 – Qurient Co. Ltd. (KRX: 115180), a clinical stage biotech company, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its investigational new drug (IND) application for Q901, a small molecule oncology drug candidate targeting cyclin dependent kinase 7 (CDK7).
The company plans to enroll up to 70 patients with advanced solid tumors in a Phase 1/2 clinical study taking place in the United States. The goal of the study will be to determine the maximum tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities, and the recommended Phase 2 dose of Q901.
“IND clearance for Q901 is an important step forward in developing this novel drug candidate that may provide a new alternative treatment to patients with relapsed or refractory malignancies,” says Kiyean Nam, CEO of Qurient. “We look forward to initiating the clinical study for Q901 and presenting additional nonclinical efficacy data of Q901 in various cancer models at an upcoming scientific meeting.”
Q901 is a highly selective CDK7 inhibitor that has been shown in in vitro studies to only inhibit CDK7 in the human kinome. CDK7 is a master regulator of cell cycle checkpoints and an essential component of the transcription machinery. Additional data from preclinical studies has demonstrated that selective inhibition of CDK7 specifically kills cancer cells with aberrant cell division cycle or transcriptional regulation. Nonclinical pharmacology studies of Q901 have demonstrated that the selective inhibition of CDK7 exerts tumor growth inhibition in a number of murine cell-derived and patient-derived xenograft models, including breast, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, small-cell lung, and colorectal cancers.
Qurient licensed the CDK7 inhibitor program at lead stage from Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Max Planck Society and further optimized the program, completed the IND-enabling studies, and submitted the IND application.
“We are thrilled about the second CDK-selective inhibitor from the LDC pipeline to reach cancer patients. The nomination of Q901 for clinical development emphasizes the translational competence of LDC and represents an extremely important milestone,” adds Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC. “Starting out with an early-stage and BMBF grant funded academic collaboration with two academic partners, and strongly supported by additional financing from the Max Planck Foundation, LDC has launched this journey to identify and generate mono-specific CDK7 inhibitors. After an initial animal proof-of-concept, the CDK7 assets were licensed to our strategic collaboration partner, Qurient. We respectfully appreciate our ongoing partnership with Qurient, who are now moving the second joint program, after Q702, forward to clinical trials. While licensing these projects and jointly starting the spin-off, QLi5, we have since built a sustainable and strong partnership with Qurient, with more to come, focusing on the translation of innovative biology and drug discovery programs from LDC’s academic network.”
“Qurient has proven to be the ideal partner for this project, and we are more than happy about the results of this strategic partnership,” says Jörn Erselius, Managing Director at Max Planck Innovation GmbH.
The CDK7 inhibitor project and other projects have been supported in part by private sponsors and charities, especially Max Planck Foundation, which supports many Max Planck research projects and researchers, including the most recent Nobel Laureates at Max Planck.
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PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
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Lead Discovery Center GmbH was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. The Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with Qurient, AstraZeneca, Apeiron, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Centessa, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Jemincare, Novo Nordisk e.g. In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation. Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de.
Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; Telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, under Phase 1/2 study. A subsidiary of Qurient, QLi5 is developing immunoproteasome inhibitors targeting multiple Myeloma and diverse other indications. For more info, please visit www.qurient.com.
About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress. Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.com.