Munich, 21 January 2020 - Ascenion’s portfolio company HepaRegeniX has successfully completed a series B financing round in excess of EUR 11 million. All existing investors have contributed: the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF), Novo Holdings A/S, the High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Coparion and Ascenion.
The company will use the proceeds to advance its lead candidate into the clinic before the end of this year. The approach builds on a new and unique therapeutic concept developed by the company’s cofounder Prof. Lars Zender and his team. They discovered the protein MKK4 as a key ‘switch’ regulating the liver’s natural, almost unlimited capacity to regenerate itself. This capacity is impaired in liver disease. HepaRegenix’ lead candidate specifically inhibits MKK4 and was shown to restore hepatocytes’ regenerative power in preclinical studies, even in severely diseased livers.
Liver disease affects about 1% of the population, and the global burden will continue to increase. Liver transplantation is the second most common solid organ transplantation, yet less than 10% of global transplantation needs are currently met.
‘It is encouraging to see the growing willingness of investors to participate in health-sector innovation, and we hope that this trend will be maintained. We are proud to continue supporting this committed team and its compelling approach. With its recently expanded management and new financial capacity, the company is well set to exploit its potential for the benefit of society,’ Stein adds.
MKK4 was discovered during Prof. Zender’s time at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and the Hannover Medical School (MHH), and is protected by respective IP. Ascenion GmbH, technology transfer partner of both institutes, has supported the project from the start. Any proceeds Ascenion may receive from the future sale of its shares will be forwarded to the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research to fund research projects at endowing institutes, including the HZI and the MHH.
About Ascenion GmbH
Ascenion is an independent technology transfer company focussing on the life sciences. It is partner to 30 research organizations, universities and university hospitals in Germany and Europe, including life-science institutes of the Helmholtz and Leibniz Associations, the Charité, the Hannover Medical School, the Medical University of Innsbruck and the University Medical Center Göttingen. Ascenion’s multidisciplinary, industry-experienced team works closely with its partners to tap the potential of their research by identifying promising results, obtaining patent protection, and turning pure science into applied technology. Particular strengths are spin-off support and project development, where early-stage projects are transformed into assets that attract potential investors and licensees. This has led to the founding of numerous new companies and the transfer of innovative medical approaches into approved drugs, changing the lives of thousands of patients. Profits from Ascenion’s operative business and exit proceeds flow via its parent company, the LifeScience Foundation for the Promotion of Science and Research, to fund further translational research at its partner institutes.
Further information at www.ascenion.de
Stanislava Zollner, Corporate Communication, Ascenion GmbH
zollner(at)ascenion(dot)de, +49 89 3188140