2017/01/05

ARTSaVIT Ltd. Completes $6.3 Million Series A Financing

YAVNE, Israel, January 5, 2016 - Israeli cancer apoptosis company ARTSaVIT LTD announced today that it has completed a $6.3 million Series A round of financing led by Arkin Bio Ventures and Pontifax, with participation of M Ventures, Carmel Innovation and Carmel - Haifa University Economic Corporation Ltd.

ARTSaVIT was co-founded by Carmel, the economic corporation of the University of Haifa, Carmel Innovations Fund and Professor Sarit Larisch from the University of Haifa, Israel. Prof. Larisch has identified and characterized ARTS, a protein which regulates the levels of several important anti-apoptotic proteins by promoting their degradation. Apoptosis is a highly regulated process of natural cell death. Faulty regulation of apoptosis is implicated in many human diseases, including cancer. Moreover, resistance to apoptosis is a hallmark of most human cancers.

The insights gathered by Prof. Larisch and the unique function of ARTS led to the establishment of the company, which is developing small molecule ARTS mimetics designed to selectively induce apoptosis in cancer cells. The company received seed investment from the Carmel Innovations Fund, which supported the research and development of the company to its current stage.

ARTSaVIT will move from its facilities at Carmel, University of Haifa, to the state-of-the-art facilities at the M Ventures Israel BioIncubator, which will support the development of the start-up with its infrastructure and a wide range of incubation facilities and services.

Dr. Rom Eliaz, Head of the M Ventures Israel BioIncubator commented: "We are excited to join forces with Arkin Bio Ventures, Pontifax and Carmel and would like to welcome ARTSaVit to our BioIncubator. Following the completion of this fundraising, the company is now well positioned to reach its next value inflection point“.

Elka Nir, CEO of Carmel Ltd, the economic corporation of the Haifa University and CEO of Carmel Innovations Fund, noted: “We are proud and excited that M Ventures together with Arkin Bio Ventures and Pontifax invested in ARTSaVIT. It demonstrates the excellent quality and potential of the research and researchers at the University of Haifa. It is another great success for the Carmel Innovation Fund and its business model, which is funding seed companies, supporting them to a stage of significant value “

About Pontifax
Pontifax is a venture capital firm focusing on groundbreaking innovations in the life sciences arena. Founded in 2004 and with $350 million under management, Pontifax seeks transformative, innovative healthcare opportunities at all development stages. For more information, please visit www.pontifax.com.

About Arkin Bio Ventures
Arkin Bio Ventures is a prominent investment fund specializing in pharmaceutical and biotech offering a distinctive combination of practical pharmaceutical knowledge, wide acquaintance with the market along with significant financial capabilities. For more information, please visit www.arkinholdings.com.

About M Ventures and the M Ventures Israel BioIncubator
M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact Merck‘s core business areas. From our headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel we invest globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. M Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors to translate innovation towards commercial success. M Ventures has a significant focus on early-stage investing and company creation including the creation of spin-offs to leverage Merck‘s science and technology base. The M Ventures Israel BioIncubator is a strategic initiative designed to stimulate innovation by bridging the gap between academic research and the biotechnology industry in Israel. Launched in 2011 to invest in biomedical innovation in Israel, the BioIncubator offers both seed financing and access to dedicated laboratory facilities within the R&D center of the biopharma business of Merck in Yavne, Israel. For more information, please visit www.merck-ventures.com.

About Carmel Ltd.
Carmel-Haifa University Economic Corporation Ltd. serves as the commercialization and business arm of the University of Haifa and is responsible for protecting and commercializing its intellectual property. Carmel-Haifa collaborates with various partners and establishes ventures, companies and funds with the goal of maximizing the business potential of commercializing research and knowledge developed at the University.

About University of Haifa
The University of Haifa, the largest comprehensive research university in northern Israel, is dedicated to academic excellence and social responsibility. Our mission is to expand academic opportunities for all members of society, promote upward mobility and serve as an example of tolerance and coexistence in Israel and the entire region. Our campus is academic home to 18,000 students and faculty members from different ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Jews, Arabs, Druze, new immigrants, international students, IDF officers and security personnel come together to study, research, socialize, and prepare themselves for the challenges of a rapidly changing world. Our diversity differentiates us from other Israeli universities.

About Carmel Innovations Ltd.
Carmel Innovations Fund established in 2014 is a micro fund of private investors, providing seed funding to companies established by Carmel-Haifa for innovative projects based on IP of the University of Haifa. The Carmel Innovations Investment Fund provides seed funding to promising projects for approximately two years and helps maturing them to a stage of significant value and inflection point. Participating in the fund provides investors with the first right to select and invest in the most promising projects which have already received significant support from the University and foundations for a number of years.

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