LOS ANGELES, Nov. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ArmaGen Technologies, Inc. today announced the closing of a $17 million Series A financing to support the development of brain-penetrating recombinant protein therapeutics. The lead investor is Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, joined by Shire plc, Takeda Ventures, Inc., and Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc. This funding will allow for expansion of existing operations, and the clinical development of potentially first-in-class biopharmaceuticals targeting diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), which are engineered to penetrate the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
"The ArmaGen investor syndicate is a unique group of Big Pharmas each with their own global impact. This is the first time such a diverse group from the pharmaceutical industry has come together to finance technology in the blood-brain barrier. I am very delighted at the trust our investors have placed in us," said William M. Pardridge, MD, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of ArmaGen.
The ArmaGen molecular Trojan horse technology has the potential to re-engineer recombinant proteins for BBB penetration for the treatment of diseases of the brain and spinal cord. The long-term mission at ArmaGen is the development of BBB-penetrating biopharmaceuticals for diseases of the CNS that affect over 250 million people world-wide. Initially, the company will focus on orphan diseases of the CNS with lead biopharmaceuticals for Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) Type I, or Hurler's syndrome and MPS Type II, or Hunter's disease.
Joining Dr. Pardridge on the ArmaGen Board of Directors are Stuart Swiedler, MD, PhD, Martin Heidecker PhD (Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund), and Arthur Tzianabos, PhD (Shire).
"I believe that ArmaGen has an ideal technology to help develop brain-penetrating recombinant proteins for the treatment of a broad range of rare diseases that affect the brain but also the periphery. If this works, doctors will have the potential to treat their patients with only one drug. This would be really a breakthrough for their patients," Stu Swiedler commented.
"I am very excited to work with such an experienced team on orphan diseases, but what makes me really excited about the technology is the potential of broad application in neurodegenerative and other indications that affect the brain," said Dr. Martin Heidecker of lead investor Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.
Dr. Pardridge formed ArmaGen in 2004, and has financed the company to date with $20 million in non-dilutive funding. The company is located in Santa Monica, CA.
About ArmaGen® Technologies
ArmaGen Technologies is both a platform technology company and a products company. The platform technology produces IgG fusion proteins formed by fusion of a recombinant protein therapeutic, which does not cross the BBB to an IgG. The IgG domain of the fusion protein is a genetically engineered monoclonal antibody, which crosses the human BBB via transport on endogenous BBB receptors. The IgG domain acts as a molecular Trojan horse to ferry the fused pharmaceutical agent across the BBB from blood. ArmaGen has used the platform technology to develop a diverse pipeline of BBB penetrating recombinant protein therapeutics, including lysosomal enzymes, neurotrophins, decoy receptors, or therapeutic antibodies.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
The Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund was formed in March 2010 to invest in biotechnology and start-up companies to help drive innovation in medical science. These may include - but are not limited to - novel technologies to address so far undrugable targets, new generation vaccines and new biological entities, such as antibody-dependent oncolysis. Novel therapeutic targets and disease-related biomarkers, as well as new approaches in regenerative medicine, are an additional focus.
Through our deep understanding of patients' needs, we develop and provide healthcare in the areas of:
- Behavioral Health and Gastro-Intestinal conditions
- Rare Diseases
- Regenerative Medicine
as well as other symptomatic conditions treated by specialist physicians.
We aspire to imagine and lead the future of healthcare, creating value for patients, physicians, policymakers, payors and our shareholders.
About Takeda Ventures, Inc.
Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI) is the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. A wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda America Holdings, Inc., TVI started operations in November 2001 and aims to encourage and support therapeutic innovation through early stage capital investment and provision of access to the resources of a multinational pharmaceutical company.
About Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc.
Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc. (MGI USA), which has offices in Silicon Valley and New York, is a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. Global Investment Ltd (MGI), which invests in opportunities that have potential for growth. Headquartered in Tokyo, MGI has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Mumbai in addition to MGI USA's offices and its investments reach beyond these geographical barriers, reflecting a diversified global portfolio.
SOURCE ArmaGen Technologies, Inc.