Oxyrane UK Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company based in The Netherlands, has closed on $26.5 million in a equity round of funding. Investors include Forbion Capital Partners, Morningside Groups and New Science Ventures. Sander Slootweg of Forbion and Gerald Chan of Morningside Group have joined the company’s board. Oxyrane is developing enzyme replacement therapies to treat rare inheritied diseases.
Forbion Capital Partners today announces that it has invested in Oxyrane UK Limited, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of enzyme replacement therapies (ERT) to treat lysosomal storage diseases, a class of more than forty rare inherited diseases. In its oversubscribed Series D financing round the company raised $26.5m. Other investors in the round include Morningside Groups and existing investor New Science Ventures. On behalf of Forbion Sander Slootweg (Forbion Capital Partners) has joined the board of Oxyrane next to Dr. Gerald Chan of Morningside Group.
The current fundraising will enable Oxyrane to advance its lead ERT treatment for Pompe disease from preclinical stages through to the end of phase I/II, as well as further preclinical development of other ERTs. Pompe disease (also called Glycogen storage disease type II or acid maltase deficiency) is a rare, serious disease in which acid alpha-glucosidase enzyme deficiency leads to glycogen accumulation and muscle and nerve cells damage. If untreated, the infantile form is fatal – often before one year of age – due to cardiorespiratory failure.
Oxyrane has developed a proprietary platform for the production of therapeutic proteins with homogenous, human sugar structures using the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Based on this platform, Oxyrane can produce human lysosomal enzymes with 3-15 times the amount of mannose 6-phosphate, the essential targeting sugar structure which facilitates effective enzyme uptake and localisation, obtained in current commercial processes. The substantial enhanced levels of the natural targeting mechanism can deliver more than a 20-fold improvement in cellular uptake without altering the naturally occurring protein enzyme. Based on experience at 1,000 litre scale with its simple batch production process, Oxyrane believes that it can scale production up to 100,000 litres if necessary – dramatically altering the production economics of these products. Due to its proven versatility the Y. lipolytica platform not only enables robust and consistent production of lysosomal enzymes but also of a range of other human glycoproteins, including antibodies.
Michael Campbell, CEO of Oxyrane stated: “We are pleased to have Morningside Group and Forbion Capital Partners join existing investor New Science Ventures. This syndicate of respected, experienced investors will provide us with the support necessary to advance our exciting pipeline towards the clinic. Oxyrane is now well positioned to progress our research into clinical trials in Pompe disease in order to explore the potential benefits of our technology in people with this debilitating and potentially fatal disorder.”
Sander Slootweg, Managing Partner at Forbion Capital Partners stated: “Oxyrane is an exciting company with distinctive technology and a world-class research team with the potential to deliver a number of new and important treatments in the lysosomal storage disease space. We are delighted to join Morningside Group and New Science Ventures in investing in Oxyrane as it moves in to the next phase of its development.” Marco Boorsma of Forbion Capital Partners will join the board as observer.
Oxyrane UK Limited develops novel and biosuperior versions of enzyme replacement therapies for lysososomal storage diseases using a proprietary glycoengeneering expression host based on the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Founded in 2006, the Company is headquartered in Manchester, England. For more information, visit www.oxyrane.com.
About Forbion Capital Partners
Forbion Capital Partners is a dedicated Life Sciences venture capital firm with offices in Naarden, The Netherlands, and Munich, Germany. Forbion invests in life sciences companies, particularly in world-class drug discovery & development as well as med tech and diagnostics companies addressing substantial unmet medical needs. Forbion’s investment team of nine investment professionals has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in Rhein Biotech, Crucell, Neutec, Glycart, Borean, Impella, Alantos, Acorda, Fovea, PanGenetics and BioVex. Current assets under management exceed EUR 400M, split between three active funds and comprising some 28 promising portfolio companies. Forbion Capital Partners Fund II is supported by the European Investment Fund through its ERP and LfA facilities. Finally, Forbion co-manages Biogeneration Ventures, an early stage fund focused on (academic) spin-outs and seed investments in the Netherlands.
Morningside is a diversified investment group founded in 1986 by the Chan family of Hong Kong. It is engaged primarily in private equity and venture capital investments. The group has investments in North America, Europe, across Asia-Pacific, and since 1992, in Mainland China. Morningside was one of the earliest institutional investors in China’s internet industry and in recent years has been an active investor in China’s emerging biotechnology sector. More information is available at www.morningside.com.
About New Science Ventures
New Science Ventures (NSV) is a New York-based venture capital firm which invests in both early and late stage companies using novel scientific approaches to address significant unmet needs and create order of magnitude improvements in performance. NSV manages over $125 million and has invested in more than 20 companies located in the US, Europe, India and China in the life sciences and information technology sectors.
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