The immune-oncology start-up in the BII Creation House program, STipe Therapeutics, has raised EUR 20M in a Series A financing round. The start-up is a spin-out from the Department of Biomedicine, University of Aarhus and was founded by Associate Professor Martin Jakobsen, Ph.D. in medicine, and Claus Olesen, Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics.
In the fall of 2018, they were one of the first two companies accepted in the BII Creation House program, receiving a convertible loan of DKK 10M that have supported the development of a solid and attractive proof-of-concept data package for their novel immune modulatory technology. With help from BioInnovation Institute, STipe Therapeutics has interacted with multiple international investors and pharma companies with focus on immune-oncology over the past year. This effort has supported establishing the syndicate of investors behind the Series A financing.
STipe Therapeutics was initially funded by Novo Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Novo Holdings A/S, through a pre-seed grant and Novo Seeds will now co-lead the syndicate with Arix Bioscience plc. The syndicate furthermore includes Wellington Partners Life Science V Fund and Sunstone Life Science Ventures A/S.
“Securing an investment of EUR 20M is an achievement that resonates in the life science eco-system. It is not only a milestone for STipe Therapeutics but also for the BioInnovation Institute. The fact that we in less than one year after our inauguration have helped an early start-up company to accelerate to a point where such a strong syndicate of investors decides to go in is a strong validation of our concept,” says Jens Nielsen, CEO of BioInnovation Institute.
At rapid speed
STipe Therapeutics aims to fight cancer by combining current immunotherapies with a direct sensitization of the innate immune system. This is to help patients that either respond poorly or is completely resistant to the forms of immunotherapies that are foreseen as a dominant part of future cancer treatment.
Founder Martin Jakobsen describes it as both humbling and rewarding to see his academic idea move so rapidly towards clinical testing and although he envisioned it would happen, he was uncertain if it was doable within such a short period of time.
“We started as a basic research project and today, we have transformed into a start-up with a package that has shown to be interesting for a large group of investors. To progress rapidly has been absolutely key in this amazing journey and BioInnovation Institute has enabled us to push forward continuously”, says Martin Jakobsen who expects the team to expand quite a lot from the eight people that form STipe Therapeutics today.
“Our focus is now to develop our lead candidate into a successful regulatory filing consolidate the mode of action around our technology to better comprehend how we can expand to multiple cancer indications for the benefit of patients and society,” says Martin Jakobsen.
The start-up will continue to work at BioInnovation Institute with access to the office space and laboratories.
Read more on Novo Holdings website
More news from BII:
Claus Olesen: Entrepreneurship is something you must learn https://bii.dk/news/claus-olesen-entrepreneurship-is-something-you-must-learn/
Meet the start-ups: STipe Therapeutics https://bii.dk/news/meet-the-start-ups-stipe-therapeutics/
Read more about the start-ups in the BioInnovation Institute programs here https://bii.dk/start-ups/