FoRx Therapeutics AG Raises EUR 10 Million Seed Round
First Company to Develop a Pipeline of Drugs Targeting DNA Replication Stress for Cancer
Seasoned Biotech Executive Colin Goddard Joins as Executive Chairman
Basel, Switzerland, 22 April, 2020 – FoRx Therapeutics AG (FoRx), the biotechnology company developing a new generation of cancer drugs focusing on novel DNA Replication Stress (DRS) pathways, today announced the closing of a EUR 10 million seed financing led by M Ventures (venture capital arm of Merck), Novartis Venture Fund and Omega Funds. Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and LSP (Life Sciences Partners) also joined the seed financing. The company also announces the appointment of Colin Goddard as Executive Chairman.
FoRx is developing a new generation of drugs against a unique target class for the treatment of cancer. The company’s scientific foundations are built on the pioneering work of Professor Thanos Halazonetis, from the University of Geneva. Professor Halazonetis discovered novel DNA repair pathways, such as Break Induced Replication (BIR) that enable cancer cells to overcome DNA Replication Stress, a prevalent feature in human cancers but absent in normal, healthy cells. These repair pathways constitute a vulnerability that can be exploited for targeted intervention using synthetic lethality. The work of Professor Halazonetis describing oncogene-induced replication stress has been published in renowned scientific journals including Nature 1. The Company’s validated BIR targets furthermore appear to have potential for both therapy and maintenance treatment as shown in preclinical knock-out models.
Newly appointed Executive Chairman, Dr. Colin Goddard, said: “I am excited to join the Board of FoRx as we embark upon this new approach for therapeutic intervention in cancer. With strong scientific foundations and a high quality investor syndicate, the Company has the potential to materially improve the options available to oncologists around the world.”
Dr. Colin Goddard has a long track record of leadership and success in the industry. He works as an investor and board member in a number of early stage and public biotechnology companies, leveraging over 30 years of experience in the industry. He is Chairman of Mission Therapeutics and BlinkBio. He was previously a non-executive director of Endocyte Inc. which was acquired by Novartis in 2018 for US$ 2.1 billion. From October 1998 until its US$4 billion acquisition by Astellas Pharmaceuticals Inc. in June of 2010, Dr. Goddard was CEO of OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dr. Goddard holds a PhD in Cancer Pharmacology.
Therese Maria Liechtenstein from M Ventures, Florian Muellershausen from Novartis Venture Fund, Vincent Ossipow from Omega Funds, Vincent Brichard from LSP, and Denis Patrick from Pfizer Ventures joined the FoRx board along with Professor Halazonetis.
Andreas Goutopoulos, current Senior Scientific Director at EMD Serono and Chief Scientific Officer at Metabomed, is supporting FoRx Therapeutics as interim Chief Executive Officer, as part of his role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at M Ventures.
Nature. 2005 Apr 14;434(7035:907-13.)
For further information, please contact:
Optimum Strategic Communications
Mary Clark, Manel Mateus
Tel: +44 (0) 203 922 0889
Email : FoRx@optimumcomms.com
About FoRx Therapeutics
FoRx Therapeutics, was founded in the fall of 2019, is a biotechnology company developing a new generation of cancer drugs focusing on novel DNA Replication Stress pathways activated in cancer. Drawing on discoveries by Thanos Halazonetis and Dr. Sotirios Sotiriou, FoRx was co-founded in 2019 with M Ventures, Novartis Venture Fund and Omega Funds along with Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and LSP (Life Sciences Partners). For more information, visit www.forxtherapeutics.com
About M Ventures
M Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact the company’s core business areas. From its headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel, M Ventures invests 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 the company’s science and technology base. For more information, visit www.m-ventures.com.
About the Novartis Venture Fund
Novartis Venture Fund is a financially driven corporate life science venture fund whose purpose is to foster innovation, drive significant patient benefit and generate superior returns by creating and investing in innovative life science companies at various stages of their development. For more information, go to www.nvfund.com.
About Omega Funds
Founded in 2004, Omega Funds is a leading international investment firm that creates and invests in life sciences companies that target our world’s most urgent medical needs. Omega focuses on identifying and supporting companies through value inflection points across the full arc of innovation, from company formation through clinical milestones and commercial adoption. Omega Funds’ portfolio companies have brought 37 products to market in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, rare diseases, precision medicine and others. Please visit www.omegafunds.com for additional information.
About Pfizer Ventures
Pfizer Ventures (PV), the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. was founded in 2004 and invests for return in areas of current or future strategic interest to Pfizer. PV seeks to remain at the forefront of life science advances, looking to identify and invest in emerging companies that are developing breakthroughs and technologies that have the potential to enhance Pfizer's pipeline and shape the future of our industry. For more information, visitwww.pfizerventures.com.
LSP’s management has raised $2.5 billion since it started to invest in the life sciences in 1988. The group has offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston. Alongside the latest biotech fund LSP 6, recently closed at 600 million euros, the firm is investing from its $300 million Health Economics Fund and its $200 million public fund and mandates. Among LSP’s signature deals are argenx, Crucell, KuDOS, Movetis, Neuravi, Okairos, Prosensa, Qiagen and Zealand Pharma. In addition, LSP is an active contributor to the life sciences industry through roles as founder and board member of the Oncode Institute, board member of both the German and Dutch private equity and venture capital associations, initiator of the Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI), as well as board member or advisor to a number of European technology transfer institutes and government bodies such as Health~Holland.