SciRhom increases seed funding to 16 million euros
The start-up thus brings its drug candidates for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases into the clinic
Dr. Jens Ruhe, CEO SciRhom GmbH
“The support of our investors enables us to expand the pre-clinical efficacy and safety evidence. We can now accelerate our antibody development towards the next value inflection point – IND submission.”
Dr. Jens Ruhe
CEO SciRhom GmbH
SciRhom GmbH, a developer of novel antibody therapies, announced today an increase of their seed capital by EUR 8 million. With this added investment, the company has secured a total of EUR 16 million to achieve the next development milestones of their first-in-class drug candidates, antibodies against iRhom2 that have demonstrated preclinical efficacy in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The additional financing was provided by existing shareholders and a select group of investors from Europe and the US.
SciRhom’s drug candidates inhibit iRhom2 (inactive Rhomboid 2, RHBDF2) and thus the functions of its binding partner, the cell surface protease TACE (TNF-alpha converting enzyme or ADAM17). As a result, they simultaneously block several pro-inflammatory signaling pathways. TACE was initially considered a promising therapeutic target for autoimmune diseases. However, previous attempts by pharmaceutical companies to block TACE failed due to side effects in the clinic. In contrast, inhibiting iRhom2 avoids these side effects. SciRhom antibodies block pro-inflammatory TNF-alpha and IL-6R signaling exclusively in immune cells while leaving important TACE-mediated cellular functions intact. SciRhom’s therapeutic concept is particularly aimed at the 30–40% of patients who do not respond to currently available biologics and, given its ability to block multiple disease-causing pathways at once, is expected to outperform standard of care medications.
Having established preclinical efficacy of the iRhom2 function-blocking antibodies in vitro and in mouse models of RA and IBD, SciRhom can now deepen the analysis of their novel candidate biologics and develop manufacturing processes in preparation for an IND application with European and US regulatory authorities.
Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jens Ruhe highlights the expediting effect of the recent financial injection. “As a young company translating more than a decade of rigorous research into a therapy that can make a profound difference in the lives of patients, we work with urgency and zeal. The support of our investors enables us to expand the pre-clinical efficacy and safety evidence. We can now accelerate our antibody development towards the next value inflection point – IND submission.”
Development of novel biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of life-threatening autoimmune diseases
SciRhom GmbH, based in the Innovation and Start-up Center Biotechnology in Martinsried, Germany, is a biotech company that translates science into the preclinical and early clinical development of novel biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of life-threatening autoimmune diseases. Based on longstanding academic research and a well-established network of experts, SciRhom was founded in 2016 through a collaboration between academic and industry scientists with profound experience in antibody development. Since then, the company has developed first-in-class anti-iRhom2 antibodies and demonstrated efficacy in preclinical proof-of-principle studies. Four comprehensive patent families cover the anti-iRhom2 antibodies and iRhom2-target epitopes, securing exclusivity and protection against me-too drugs. To date, SciRhom has successfully acquired seed funding from the High-Tech Gruenderfonds (HTGF) and private investors.