Belgian cell therapy firm Promethera Biosciences raised €23.6 million (about $31.4 million) in a Series B round of financing. The funds come in the form of €17 million in capital from a group of five new investors, and a €6.6 million loan from the regional Walloon investment body, which has backed Promethera since its establishment in 2009.
Promethera is a spin-out from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), which is developing allogeneic adult stem cell therapies for liver diseases. The firm is currently focused on two products based on the recently discovered heterologous human adult liver progenitor cells (HHALPCs). Promethera HepaStem is an early-clinical-stage injectable cell therapy designed to treat severe genetic liver diseases in children and adults, and in particular Crigler-Najjar syndrome, urea cycle disorders, phenylketonuria, and glycogenosis Type-1.
The firm’s second product, Promethera HepaScreen, is a liver metabolism cell model based on hepatocyte-like cells derived from in vitro differentiated HHALPC. The aim is to offer the cell model to the biopharmaceutical industry as a tool for pharmacotoxicology screening of new drugs and lead compound optimization.
The cells used for the Promethera HepaScreen are in effect the same progenitor cells as those used for HepaStem product, Promethera explains. However, for the HepaScreen product the progenitor cells are taken through an in vivo maturation process.
Investors in the firm’s latest Series B fundraising round include the venture arms of Boehringer Ingelheim, and Shire, along with Mitsui Global Investiment, ATMI, and Sambrinvest.