Increased investment round follows recently awarded €1.6 million grant from Flanders government.

Emerging Belgian biotech firm Complix has extended its Series A financing round by another €2 million ($2.6 million) to a total of €7 million (just over $9 million), thanks to a new investment by Crédit Agricole Private Equity. The new funding follows just a month after Complix reported the award of a €1.6 million (nearly $2.1 million) grant from the Flanders government’s IWT (Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology), to support preclinical development of its lead Alphabody™ therapeutics program for autoimmune diseases. The first close of the Series A fundraising was completed in June 2010.

Founded two years ago, Complix is developing Alphabodies as a novel class of small, highly stable proteins that bind with high selectivity to disease-associated target molecules. The firm is initially focused on Alphabody-based therapies for treatment of autoimmune and viral diseases.

Alphabodies are single-chain, triple-stranded coiled proteins with a molecular weight of between 10 and 14 kDa, which is 10-15 times smaller than antibodies, Complix notes. The molecules can be designed as high-affinity binders to a wide range of molecular targets, including those that are not easily accessible to antibodies or other types of protein scaffolds, and can display more than one antigen-binding site. Their structure also means Alphabodies are extremely stable, making them amenable to lyophilization and highly resistant to proteases, the firm adds. These properties will allow the development of candidates that could potentially be administered by noninjected routes, including topical or pulmonary.

Complix is currently using its AlphaSelect platform to design and develop Alphabodies against selected auto-immunity and infectious disease targets. The firm says it has already used the technology to isolate and characterize Alphabodies that bind selectively to functional targets involved in inflammation, tumor growth regulation, and in viral infection.

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