Proceeds used to develop lead drug emactuzumab to improve the lives of patients with tenosynovial giant cell tumours
Naarden, The Netherlands, 19 November, 2020 – Forbion announces investment in newly formed company SynOx Therapeutics Ltd, a clinical stage company spun out of Celleron Therapeutics, alongside HealthCap, Medicxi and Gimv. SynOx will continue the development of emactuzumab after securing worldwide rights for the development, manufacturing and commercialization of emactuzumab under a licence agreement with Roche.
SynOx will now continue the development of emactuzumab for the treatment of diffuse tenosynovial giant cell tumours (TGCT) and other indications. Emactuzumab is a humanised recombinant IgG1 monoclonal CSF-1R antibody designed to target and deplete macrophages in the tumour tissue. It has shown a favourable safety profile in patients and encouraging efficacy for TGCT, a rare disease characterised by the proliferation of macrophages in the synovial tissue in the joint and tendon sheath. Emactuzumab is expected to enter a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, pivotal phase II/III clinical trial in 2021.
Professor Nick La Thangue, Chief Executive Officer of SynOx, commented: “We are very excited to be working on emactuzumab. SynOx’s strong commitment and focus on developing emactuzumab aim to provide the best possible prerequisites to enable that emactuzumab is brought to patients suffering from TGCT, which remains a very debilitating disease with limited clinical options.”
Dirk Kersten, General Partner of Forbion, added: “Our investment in SynOx is a clear example of the need for private growth capital for mature clinical assets in Europe. With our dedicated Growth Fund and specialized team, we are eager and well prepared to support SynOx’s development efforts and to ensure that emactuzumab makes its way to patients.”
The board of directors of SynOx will consist of Dirk Kersten (Forbion), Jacob Gunterberg (HealthCap), Francesco De Rubertis (Medicxi), Michaël Vlemmix (Gimv), Declan Doogan (chairman of Celleron Therapeutics) and Nick La Thangue.
About SynOx Therapeutics
SynOx is a newly founded company based in Dublin, Ireland, solely focused on developing emactuzumab. SynOx is backed by a strong investor syndicate with long and successful backgrounds in building biopharma companies.
Forbion is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Forbion manages well over EUR 1.25 billion across multiple fund strategies that cover all stages of (bio)pharmaceutical drug development. Forbion’s current team consists of 20 life sciences investment professionals that have built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in over 69 companies.
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”.
For more information, please visit: www.forbion.com.
Emactuzumab (RG7155) is an investigational monoclonal IgG1 antibody designed to target and deplete tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) in the tumour tissue. TAMs are an abundant component of the tumour microenvironment of many tumour types supporting tumorigenesis by suppressing the local immune system and promoting growth of tumour cells. Emactuzumab specifically targets TAMs by binding to colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R) on the cell surface and blocking its activation by CSF-1. Emactuzumab therapy has been shown to significantly reduce CSF-1 dependent macrophages in TGCT and in tumours of cancer patients.
About tenosynovial giant cell tumour
Tenosynovial giant cell tumour is a rare disease characterized by proliferation of synovial tissue in the joint and tendon sheath. The neoplastic process is driven by a specific genetic translocation leading to the overexpression of CSF-1 and a massive recruitment of CSF-1R-expressing macrophages that form the bulk tumorous mass. Even though the disease rarely metastasizes, it is locally aggressive and disabling. Patients are usually diagnosed at an age between 20 and 50 with equal sex distribution. Standard therapy is surgery but relapse rates are high. Patients’ quality of life is often impacted by tumour-related symptoms and surgical sequelae.
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Melanie Toyne-SewellManaging Partner