Naarden, The Netherlands and Berlin, Germany – 8 September 2020 – Forbion, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm, today announces that its portfolio company, Inversago Pharma Inc. (“Inversago” or “the Company”), the peripheral CB1 blockade company, has secured a US$35 million (CDN$47 million) Series B financing.
The round was led by Forbion, with co-investment from the Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and strong participation from existing investors Genesys, JDRF T1D Fund, Amorchem, Anges Québec Capital, adMare BioInnovations and angels.
Proceeds will be used to develop Inversago’s best-in-class peripherally-acting CB1 inverse agonist candidate INV-101 to clinical proof-of-concept and advance the research on other selected compounds.
Clinical and scientific data suggest that the peripheral CB1 pathway is activated in a majority of metabolic and fibrotic diseases, including Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), NASH, type-1 diabetes and diabetic nephropathy; conditions with currently inadequate treatment options. CB1 inhibition has previously shown to be an effective clinical treatment in several diseases and conditions, albeit with a CNS liability related to the central CB1 blockade. Inversago compounds are peripherally-acting only, thus adopting a safe and potent approach.
“Today’s financing is a recognition of the progress achieved over the past two years by our team,” said François Ravenelle, PhD, CEO and founder of Inversago Pharma. “We are privileged to have secured the financing from a transatlantic syndicate of leading and committed investors like Forbion and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ. It allows the Company to make important strides towards its objective of leveraging the full medical potential of a peripheral CB1 blockade” added Dr. Ravenelle.
In conjunction with this financing, Inversago appointed Carlo Incerti, MD, an Operating Partner at Forbion, as Chairman of the board of directors, Marco Boorsma, PhD, a General Partner at Forbion, and Patricia Allen, a biotech leader, as directors of the Company. Ms. Allen will also serve as Chair of the Audit Committee.
“I am delighted to join Inversago when the Company is transitioning from the pre-clinical stage to the first human trials”, said Carlo Incerti, MD, Chairman of the board of directors and an Operating Partner at Forbion. “The science behind the CB1 pathway is extremely sound and documented and Inversago’s compounds could be very impactful in therapeutic areas that are largely unmet, like metabolic dysfunctions and fibrosis. Importantly, the peripherally-acting nature of these molecules could give them a safe and effective therapeutic window, without the known liabilities of centrally-acting blockers.”
Dr. Incerti brings to Inversago over three decades of development and commercialization experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. After a successful scientific career and prior to joining Forbion, Dr. Incerti was Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Medical Affairs at Sanofi Genzyme.
Marco Boorsma, General Partner at Forbion added, “We are delighted to lead the investment in Inversago. The science is second to none and the company meets all the criteria we look for in a new investment. We have a keen interest in the metabolic space supported by our network of experts. We look forward to working with and supporting the excellent Inversago team. Inversago’s pipeline has the potential to help a large patient population with a broad range of indications in significant markets.”
Dr. Boorsma adds over 20 years of scientific, operational, business development and venture investment expertise to the Company. He manages Forbion’s Canadian investments and serves on the boards of several other bio-pharmaceutical companies.
Ms. Allen is a recognized biotech finance and operations leader who raised over US$2B in financings and business development deals during her career. She served most recently as Chief Financial Officer at Zafgen, Inc., now Larimar Therapeutics. She currently holds positions on the boards of Yumanity Therapeutics and Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, where she is also the audit committee chairperson.
About Inversago Pharma
Inversago Pharma is a preclinical-stage, biotech company specialized in the development of new therapies focusing on CB1 blockade, based on first-in-class, peripherally-acting, CB1 inverse agonists. The Company aims to provide new treatment options that improve the lives of patients affected by metabolic conditions such as Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), type 1 diabetes (T1D) and diabetic nephropathy. For more information, visit www.inversago.com.
Forbion is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Forbion invests in life sciences companies that are active in the (bio-) pharmaceutical space. Forbion’s investment team has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in over 66 companies. Forbion manages well over EUR 1.25 billion across ten funds. Forbion is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Besides financial objectives, Forbion selects investments that will positively affect the health and well-being of patients. Its investors include the EIF, through its European Recovery Programme (ERP), LfA, Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), AMUF and EFSI facilities and KfW Capital through the Programme, “ERP – Venture Capital Fondsinvestments”. Forbion operates a joint venture with BGV, the manager of seed and early-stage funds, especially focused on Benelux and Germany. For more information, please visit: www.forbion.com.
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Melanie Toyne-SewellManaging Partner