Bioxodes SA, (Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium) a company developing products derived from natural sources, has completed a €2.6 million ($3.5 million) seed funding round thanks to a consortium of business angels and Belgian investment funds. €1.6 million of the funding has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Walloon Region in Belgium via the RETECH program for Research & Technology. The funding will be used to bring the company’s lead product Ir-CPI into pre-clinical development over the next 18 months.
Bioxodes’ founding CEO and CSO, Professor Edmond Godfroid, is exploiting the results of work conducted by his former team at the Ectoparasite Molecular Biology Unit at the University of Brussels (ULB), which has focused on establishing the molecular basis of host-parasite relationships. Professor Godfroid’s work has been instrumental in bringing Ir-CPI to a stage where it can enter full pre-clinical development.
“We announced a year ago that we would initiate a fundraising drive. I am delighted that our company has been able to secure the necessary finance to allow us to conduct a program of pre-clinical testing for this promising molecule,” said Professor Godfroid. “We are also very pleased to have secured full ownership of the Ir-CPI patent portfolio arising from the original work in my laboratory.”
Prior to the financing, Bioxodes had completed discussions with the ULB regarding the transfer of full ownership of patents relevant to Ir-CPI. The company controls intellectual property relating to these active molecules and is developing a portfolio of products with a wide range of beneficial healthcare applications in humans.
What is Ir-CPI?
Ir-CPI is an antithrombotic agent derived from a tick’s saliva, with the unparalleled property of inhibiting clotting in doses that do not cause bleeding. Thanks to a novel mechanism, Ir-CPI is potentially the world’s first injectable antithrombotic molecule that can be used among all patient groups without causing high levels of bleeding. There is also a potential to eliminate the use of antidotes at the end of critical procedures.
Collaborative research* carried out in Prof. Godfroid’s laboratory at the Ectoparasite Molecular Biology Unit has investigated the molecular basis of the parasitic relationship that the tick establishes with its host. The particular species of tick studied, Ixodes ricinus, known to transmit Lyme disease, is considered capable of feeding on a great majority of vertebrates in Europe. Following the tick bite, the tick feeds on the blood of its host, which can last for up to two weeks. A particularly important characteristic! Because this fortnight of feeding involves no pain, blood clotting or inflammation, researchers believe that such effects result from the presence of active principles in the saliva of the tick.
The market for an injectable form of such a molecule, to be used primarily in hospitals, is estimated to exceed $1 billion annually. According to VisionGain, in 2015 the global market of anti-thrombotic medicine is expected to reach $24.3 billion in revenues.
A little “tick” for tat!
*Comprising academic groups from Universite Catholique de Louvain, Facultes Universitaires Notre Dame de la Paix Namur, and Universite de Liege as well as the Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland.