Pamplona, Barcelona, 13th July 2020 – Telum Therapeutics (‘Telum’), an emerging biotechnology company that develops new treatments for infectious diseases based on the use of lytic enzymes from bacteriophages, called enzybiotics, has announced the commitment of 4,1 million euros in its first round of financing. The round is led by Invivo Ventures, together with the co-investment of Clave Capital and CDTI-Innvierte.
Telum will use these funds to advance to clinical phases one of its candidates against infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria and a second compound with a greater range of action to advanced preclinical phases.
Telum builds its pipeline on an innovative internal technological platform, developed by obtaining bacteria from unexplored caves, which gives it the ability to generate, not only its own library of bacteriophages extracted from these samples, but also its own platform for enzybiotics.
These libraries cover the exclusive use of a novel therapeutic technology of protein compounds through the use of the infective machinery contained by bacteriophages, viruses that exclusively infect prokaryotic organisms, to treat difficult to treat infections.
Telum’s first program, IKB206, is a new research therapy targeting infections caused by multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli. IKB206 employs a genetic modification that gives it the ability to act specifically and quickly against Escherichia coli strains with different degrees of resistance to antibiotics. Telum plans to start its first-in-man trial in late 2022.
Escherichia coli infections have one of the highest patient mortality rates according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, which estimates annual deaths due to ineffectiveness of current antibiotics against bacterial infections of more than 650,000 deaths/year worldwide. Forecasts for the year 2050 estimate more than 9 million deaths a year due to the difficulty of finding tools to stop this problem.
Telum Therapeutics was created in Navarra in 2019 by Roberto Díez, with more than 13 years of experience in the antibiotics sector, and specifically in the use of phage lytic enzymes as potential antimicrobial agents, in institutions such as the CSIC and the Rockefeller University of New York. Co-founder Rubén Díez has extensive financial experience in entities such as Banco Santander and CESCE, among others, thus forming a powerful management team that brings together significant experience and great knowledge in the business world, infectious diseases and global discovery and development of drugs for diseases caused by multi-resistant bacteria. Along with them, within the company’s shareholding are Sodena, which has participated since its foundation, and AN S. Coop. (Group AN).
According to Roberto Díez, CEO of Telum Therapeutics, “Telum is very pleased to have attracted such a significant investment from such highly specialized investors in the field of synthetic biology and life sciences. This fundraising reflects the shared enthusiasm for the potential of our lead candidate, IKB206, and our innovative technology to generate new compounds aimed at treating different infections caused by multi-resistant pathogens. The first results of the preclinical studies with IKB206 are very promising and this important injection of capital allows us to move forward with the first candidate to the clinics, while we develop a new compound that meets other market needs.”
Dr. Lluís Pareras and Albert Ferrer, founding partners of Invivo Ventures, have pointed out that “Multi-resistant infections are a threat to global public health. New, more specific enzymes developed with synthetic biology tools capable of not generating resistance, such as those developed by Telum, can be a real alternative to antibiotics. “
Santiago Lozano, director of the Clave Capital funds that invest in Telum, adds that “The management team provides extensive knowledge in the field of enzybiotics, proof of which are the good preliminary results obtained and it is complemented by first-rate advisers at the national and international level, to support the execution of the planned road map ”. In this way, the venture capital manager forms part of this first round of financing through two of its funds: UN I+D+i Tech Transfer, which was born out of collaboration with the University of Navarra and is participated in by FOND-ICO GLOBAL FCR managed by AXIS Participaciones Industriales SASGEIC, and Navarra Tech Transfer, participated with FEDER funds through Sodena, a financial instrument of the Government of Navarra.
About Invivo Ventures
Invivo Ventures FCR invests in early stage life sciences/healthcare companies and is managed by Invivo Capital Partners, a management company founded by Dr. Lluís Pareras and Albert Ferrer. Both managers have extensive experience in the sector and they’re also managing the venture capital firm Healthequity SCR. Invivo Ventures FCR is participated by a majority of private investors and has the support of several institutional investors such as the European Investment Fund, Fond-ICO Global, the Institut Català de Finances and the Institut Valencià de Finances.
About Clave Capital
At Clave we have more than 16 years of experience and 65 investments made. A task that we try to support in promoting innovative projects and industrial SMEs, through investments or immersion in the process of creating value for the company. Likewise, we encourage close and direct collaboration with promoters and management teams to support the growth of companies and face new market challenges.
The CDTI is the body of the General State Administration that supports knowledge-based innovation, advising and offering public aid for innovation through subsidies or partially reimbursable aid. The CDTI also internationalizes the business R&D and innovation projects of Spanish companies and entities and manages Spanish participation in international R&D organizations, such as Horizonte2020 and Eureka, and in the Science and Space industries. Additionally, through the Innvierte Sustainable Economy initiative, it supports and facilitates the capitalization of technology companies.