Rusnano, a Russian Federation fund that supports nanotechnology, has entered as a significant investor in two biopharmaceutical companies, Selecta Biosciences and Bind Biosciences. Both companies separately reported securing $47.25 million. Selecta is working on vaccines and immunotherapies, while Bind is focused on anticancer agents.
The financing for each company is composed of a $22 million Series D round with Rusano, additional new investors, and full support from all existing investors, plus $25.25 million for strategic activities in Russia. Both firms will set up a subsidiary in Russia.
Selecta will use proceeds to advance its pipeline and expand applications of its Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP™). Lead candidate, SEL-068, is a vaccine for smoking cessation and relapse prevention and is in preclinical testing. The company also has a lead-optimization program for a universal HPV vaccine and discovery programs in cancer, type 1 diabetes, allergy, influenza, and malaria.
Selecta’s subsidiary, to be established in Moscow, will have the capacity to manage and conduct R&D for additional SVP product development programs. With its presence in Russia, the company will integrate the specific needs of patients in emerging markets into its product profiles for vaccines and immunotherapies. Selecta also believes that its Russian presence will enable access to innovative funding sources and partners.
"Selecta now has the resources, expanded expertise, and capabilities to fully realize the potential of our SVP platform, which has broad applications to global health problems such as nicotine dependence, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases," remarks Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., president and CEO of Selecta.
Selecta’s financing to date reportedly totals $79.85 million in private funding, including the proceeds from this transaction. The firm reports that its fully synthetic engineering of novel vaccines offers benefits including flexible modular vaccine design and accelerated development timelines using robust manufacturing processes.
The company has created antigen-specific targeted synthetic vaccine particles (tSVP) and antigen-specific targeted tolerogenic Synthetic Vaccine Particles (t2SVP). tSVP activate immune responses to an array of relevant antigens including small molecules, peptides, oligosaccharides, and proteins. These particles can target humoral or cellular pathways of the immune system. t2SVPs are designed to induce antigen-specific immune tolerance.
Bind Biosciences, on the other hand, will use proceeds to accelerate and expand the company’s pipeline of highly selective, targeted drug candidates based on its technology for Accurin therapeutics. The new subsidiary in Russia will support the company’s lead anticancer agent, BIND-014, through clinical efficacy studies. The product, which is currently in a Phase I study, contains docetaxel and targets prostate-specific membrane antigen. Bind’s remaining pipeline includes additional preclinical candidates for cancer as well as programs in cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.
Accurins are designed to accumulate selectively at the site of disease to enhance efficacy while minimizing toxicities. They are developed on the firm’s Medicinal Nanoengineering™ platform.