Harvard spin-off closes $5.5m of additional funding to accelerate the development of Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation as a new treatment modality.
Cellvie Inc, a biotech spearheading Therapeutic Mitochondria Transplantation (TMT), an approach developed at Harvard Medical School, has closed a $5.5 million financing to get Series A-ready by the end of 2023.
The financing was led by Taiho Ventures LLC, with participation of existing investors, including the Series Seed lead, Kizoo Technology Capital GmbH. The company will use the fresh capital to ensure cellvie is ready for its Series A by the end of this year – cellvie is planning to accelerate development of the company’s technology platform, strengthen its team and further establish mitochondria manufacturing.
Longevity.Technology: Mitochondria are intimately tied to the origin of complex life, the energy of the young and the decline of the old. Commonly known as the powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria generate most of its needed energy and operate as critical intra-cellular communication nodes. Mitochondria dysfunction has been tied to a host of diseases, ranging from neurodegenerative ailments, heart attacks and strokes, to age-related degeneration.
“Whilst mitochondria have been known as disease targets for a long time, treating them has proven challenging,” says Dr James McCully, a co-founder of cellvie and inventor of TMT.
In an attempt to overcome this challenge, McCully turned to transplanting viable mitochondria to reinvigorate the cell energy metabolism, which was impaired due to ischemia, an undersupply of oxygen that arises in medical conditions such as heart attacks or stroke, and during organ transplantation.
“Given the insights gained and treatment successes shown by my scientific co-founders, we have always viewed mitochondria as a potential new category of medicines,” says Dr Alexander Schueller, co-founder and CEO of cellvie.
“To realize the modality’s potential, we have therefore focused our efforts over the past two years on scalable productization – developing an allogeneic off-the-shelf product – and research on new therapeutic applications of mitochondria –such as in gene therapy delivery and aging related degeneration.”
With this additional funding, cellvie intends to accelerate and expand the scientific development of its mitochondria platform and to further strengthen the organisational foundations in preparation for the forthcoming Series A.
Schueller notes that: “While many companies need to conserve cash and slow down shortly before raising their next round of funding, we are now in the position to speed up and form an even stronger basis to immediately and efficiently put the Series A funding to work.
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Taiho Ventures LLC joins Kizoo Technology Capital as one of cellvie’s primary investors and will take a board seat to help the company realise its ambitions.
“We have recognized the tremendous potential in the therapeutic use of mitochondria, particularly in the fight against cancer, and we believe that cellvie is very well positioned to become a leader in this emerging field,” says Sakae Asanuma, President and CEO at Taiho Ventures LLC.
Kizoo is also a significant co-investor in this round, continuing the support it began when it led cellvie’s seed round in 2020.
Frank Schueler, Managing Director at Kizoo and member of the board at cellvie says: “The team has done a tremendous job in advancing our understanding and pushing the boundaries of mitochondria-based therapies. So it was only natural for us to continue to support cellvie as one of our key startups.”
Cellvie plans to start raising its Series A in 2023, and plans to use proceeds to establish a GMP grade production, complete a Phase I clinical trial in the first indication, and to continue the development of prioritised pipeline assets.