On December 16, VIB and KU Leuven presented a new venture, Augustine Therapeutics, with the mission to develop innovative therapeutics for patients suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Augustine raises a seed-round of 4.2 million euro with V-Bio Ventures, PMV, Advent France Biotechnology, Gemma Frisius Fund and VIB.
Augustine Therapeutics, a spin-off from VIB and KU Leuven, focuses on the discovery and development of innovative medicines to benefit patients suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) and other neuromuscular diseases. CMT is one of the most common hereditary disorders of the peripheral nervous system, affecting approximately 10 to 30 in 100,000 people globally. The disease is characterized by a progressive denervation of muscles resulting in a slow decline of the patients’ day-to-day functioning. The current therapeutics market for CMT is limited to supportive management of symptoms.
The newly formed company is rooted in the ground-breaking research of the VIB-KU Leuven labs of Ludo Van Den Bosch and from a collaboration between the labs of Joris de Wit and Bart De Strooper (both VIB-KU Leuven). According to Ludo Van Den Bosch: “We uncovered several biological pathways in peripheral neuropathies that represent promising therapeutic targets for CMT. The validation and in-depth study of the underlying biology of these targets now provides a first-rate foundation for the development of novel therapeutics.”
The VIB Discovery Sciences team is taking the lead in the preclinical development of the new therapeutics. Jérôme Van Biervliet, head of VIB Discovery Sciences: “We launched Augustine Therapeutics to start the journey of bringing truly innovative products to patients suffering from serious neuropathies. The scientific discoveries of the VIB-KU Leuven scientists provide ideal starting point for the pipeline of the new company. From here on, the senior, industry-trained team of VIB Discovery Sciences brings the required deep expertise in drug discovery for early-stage drug development.”
Augustine Therapeutics completes a seed financing round of 4.2 million euro. The company is the result of a collaborative effort of VIB, KU Leuven, V-Bio Ventures and PMV, joined by Advent France Biotechnology and Gemma Frisius Fund. Augustine Therapeutics is a great example of VIB’s approach to company co-creation with business partners and investors: in addition to providing capital, the investors remain involved in the startup’s day to day management.
Ward Capoen, Principal at V-Bio Ventures: “We are proud to have built an international syndicate of renowned investors for Augustine Therapeutics together with VIB. We intend to help grow the company and prepare Augustine for a bright future in search of novel treatment options that will benefit patients suffering from neuromuscular diseases.”
David Devigne, Senior Investment Manager at PMV: “We are honored to be part of the foundation of a unique start-up in Flanders, focusing on the discovery and development of novel best-in-class therapeutics for high unmet medical need neuromuscular disorders.”
Pictures: VIB, Kanaal Z