Updating on a story from 2012, the spin-off of ULg, Synolyne Pharma has raised € 3,3 million to pursue the development of its treatment against degenerative osteoarthritis and in addition, sign an agreement with KitoZyme to acquire its biomedical business sector.
In 2017, following fifteen years of preliminary research and just five years after start-up, professor Yves Henrotin, president of Synolyne Pharma and manager at Ulg’s Bone and Cartilage Research Unit (BCRU), has announced Synolyne Pharma is set to launch Arthrovisc, an innovative vegetable-based hydrogel capable of more effectively handling degenerative osteoarthritis.
Targeting the degenerative arthritis market
Creation and development of this patented hydrogel is the result of an on going collaboration, between the BCRU directed by Professor Yves Henrotin, and the company KitoZyme, another spin-off of the ULg, specialized in the development and manufacturing of innovative biomaterials derived from ultra pure chitosan. The € 3.3 million financial operation also includes the signing of an agreement with KitoZyme involving the transfer of its biomedical business sector.
Professor Yves Henrotin, explains, “About 2 million people will be affected before 2020 in Belgium, and 100 million in Europe. Let’s just say the potential market that we are addressing, which naturally includes the United States among others, is important. If all the trials take place as expected, we should be able to begin treating the first patients before 2017».
The process, which targets degenerative arthritis by visco-supplementation treatment, represents 42 % of the market in Europe and in the United States; the US alone represents € 400 million in turnover.
Professor Henrotin also points out the prevalence of joint disease and the importance of its socio-economic impact noting that an increase in prevalence with age is paralleled with an increase in life expectancy.
Kitozyme and Chitosan: key players for Synolyne Pharma
The biphasic hydrogel composed of chitosan gel and viscoelastic beads, acts as a “shock-absorber” on the joints promoting the repair of cartilage lesions and defects in athletes and osteoarthritic patients and is introduced into the joint via injection. Injection of this biomaterial is designed to therefore compensate for the disappearance of the synovium often acquired with age and inflammatory condition (joint overuse, trauma, arthritis).
Although it is truly Synolyne Pharma who has invented this product, the biopolymer that constitutes its essential chitosan-based material still remains in the hands of KitoZyme, which has with certainty, decided to take part in its capital increase. ” In clearer terms, our main supplier becomes one of our main shareholders”, summarizes Houtaï Choumane, managing director of Synolyne Pharma. ” We are securing in a way our supply, which constitutes an essential step of our development. ”
Capital increase and collaboration: a twofold advantage
The capital increase will on one hand serve to strengthen the stockholders’ equity of Synolyne Pharma to support the development of its products, in particular the financing of the preclinical studies within the framework of the development of Arthrovisc, and on the other hand to finance the transfer of the biomedical business sector of KitoZyme.
“We are going to capitalize on these industrial and commercial synergies to develop a product portfolio focused on adequacy with the needs for our customers “, declares Houtaï Choumane, Managing director and CEO.
Synolyne has increased its capital to €3,3 million, thanks to the contribution of a number of players from the biopharmaceutical sector in Wallonia. Alongside KitoZyme (26%) new investors comprise: Meusinvest via its subsidiary SpinVenture (30%) Valois s.a., holding company held by the Mestdagh and Montulet families regrouping several participants in the private equity sector, (30%) and Flexximum R&D (15%).
Keep in mind, the Synolyne Pharma-KitoZyme collaboration has continued to benefit from the support from the Walloon Region, the tech transfer company Gesval, and investment from ULg, whom have worked in coordination with the project leaders on project consolidation and intellectual property; from the early research phase all the way through to the creation of the company. Within five years, the company plans to triple its staff and reach € 10 million in turnover.
Best of luck to Synolyne and KitoZyme in their collaborative efforts and ongoing pursuit to combat this crippling disease.
Pr Yves Henrotin, Président
+32 (0)475 841 461 – email@example.com
Houtaï Choumane, CEO
+32 (0)476 922 447
François Blondel, CEO
+32 (0)477 184 625
François Luthers, Sales & Marketing Manager
+32 (0)4 259 84 31 – firstname.lastname@example.org