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Topas Therapeutics GmbH

Falkenried 88, Haus A
20251 Hamburg GERMANY

+49 40 302089010
info@topas-therapeutics.com

Author: Topas Therapeutics

Topas Therapeutics Serves as Exclusive Translational Partner for Collaborative Research Center Focused on Liver Inflammation at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

  • Funding for Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 841 at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) extended for 4 years in the amount of nearly EUR 15 million.
  • Topas Therapeutics will act as exclusive partner for indication expansions and translation of research results into clinical development.

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (Topas), a Hamburg, Germany-based private platform company leveraging the natural tolerance induction capabilities of the liver, today announced that it will serve as the exclusive translational partner for the recently extended Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 841, “Liver inflammation: infection, immune regulation and consequences.” CRC 841 has 25 sub-projects investigating the causes and mechanisms of inflammatory liver diseases , laying the groundwork for new therapeutic approaches.

Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) are funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). CRC 841 at the UKE has been funded by the DFG since 2010 and will now receive nearly EUR 15 million for the third and final projects phase.

Professor Ansgar W. Lohse, Chief of the I. Medical Clinic and Polyclinic for Internal Medicine at the UKE and CRC spokesperson, said: “From the very beginning, the translation of research into potential clinical applications has been a focus of CRC 841, and we now expect a nanomedicine for the treatment of autoimmune diseases originally developed at CRC 841 to enter human clinical testing in 2019. The collaboration with Topas has been a great success and we look forward to continuing to work together.”

Topas plans to translate the eight years of research of CRC 841 into clinical development. In addition, Topas will cooperate closely with various members of the CRC to explore additional applications of Topas’ immune tolerance approach in various indications and to integrate these into Topas’; project portfolio, where appropriate.

Topas Therapeutics Extends its Series A to EUR 18 Million (USD 21 Million) with Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund

  • Corporate venture fund invests EUR 4 million (USD 5 million) into Topas
  • Financing to accelerate clinical trials in autoimmune diseases
  • Detlev Mennerich, Ph.D., Investment Manager of BIVF, to join Topas’ Board ofDirectors

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (Topas), a Hamburg, Germany-based private platform company leveraging the natural tolerance induction capabilities of the liver, today announced that the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) will join the Company’s syndicate of strategic and financial investors which was established through a Series A financing round in 2016. BIVF will provide Topas with EUR 4 million (USD 5 million) to accelerate the Company’s preparation and execution of clinical trials for autoimmune programs derived from its platform. Additionally, the Company announced that Detlev Mennerich, Ph.D., Investment Manager at BIVF, will join the Topas Supervisory Board.

With this capital increase, Topas has raised a total of EUR 18 million (USD 21 million). Epidarex Capital (Lead), Gimv, EMBL Ventures and Evotec previously invested EUR 14 million (USD 16.5 million) in the Company.

Timm Jessen, CEO of Topas Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted to have the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund as a new investor and to welcome Detlev Mennerich to the Board. BIVF has a great track record of successfully investing in biotech companies as a strategic, long-term investor. Their investment in Topas is a strong validation of our approach and we greatly value their support.”

Detlev Mennerich, Ph.D., Investment Manager at BIVF, added: “We are impressed by the science, the team and the investor base Topas has gathered so far. I am pleased to join the Supervisory Board and to support the clinical translation of the pioneering pre-clinical discoveries made by Topas. The unique, liver-based approach has the potential to become a game changer in various autoimmune conditions with known disease antigens.”

Topas Therapeutics Appoints Rupert Sandbrink, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Development Officer and Chief Medical Officer

  • Highly accomplished pharmaceutical executive with many years of clinical development, medical affairs, and regulatory experience at Bayer and Schering
  • To lead Topas’ clinical development and regulatory affairs

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (Topas), a Hamburg, Germany-based private platform company leveraging the natural tolerance induction capabilities of the liver, today announced the appointment of Rupert Sandbrink, M.D., Ph.D., to the newly created position of Chief Development Officer and Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Sandbrink is a highly accomplished pharmaceutical executive with nearly twenty years of experience spanning all stages of clinical development, from first-in-human studies to product launches. In addition to clinical development, he has strong expertise in regulatory and medical affairs, as well as pharmacovigilance. Prior to joining Topas, Dr. Sandbrink was Executive Vice President, Multiple Sclerosis/Neurology & Immunology at Forward Pharma A/S and a member of Forward’s Executive Management Team. Before that, he worked for many years at Bayer AG and Schering AG, which was acquired by Bayer in 2006. His last position at Bayer was Vice President, Head Experimental Medicine Women’s Health & Common Mechanism Research, and he previously served as Vice President, Head Global Clinical Development Neurology, Ophthalmology, Hematology, Immunology. At Bayer, Dr. Sandbrink led the clinical development programs for multiple small molecules and biologics, including Eylea®, Betaferon®, Lemtrada®, and Kovaltry®.

Dr. Sandbrink is a Board-certified clinical pharmacologist and received his medical degree from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. He completed the Advanced Management Program at the IESE Business School and is also a lecturer and guest scientist at Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf, Department of Neurology. He is the author of more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific and review articles.

At Topas, Dr. Sandbrink will guide Topas’ projects into the clinic, design and execute clinical development programs and trials and, in addition, lead the interactions with regulatory authorities. Dr. Sandbrink is a member of the Executive Management Team of Topas.

Timm Jessen, Chief Executive Officer of Topas Therapeutics, said: “Rupert has a long and successful track record of bringing drugs and biologics through clinical development and regulatory approval. While at Bayer/Schering, he led global clinical development for a variety of programs and is well versed in trial development and in interacting with regulatory agencies. He also has experience in a variety of innovative therapeutic technologies, including gene therapy, cell therapy and nanotechnology. He brings the critical expertise and experience that will help us immensely as we advance and prepare to enter our first program into the clinic. I am very excited to have him join the Topas team.”

Rupert Sandbrink, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Development Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Topas, commented: “I am excited to have the opportunity to join Topas as the Company prepares its first programs for clinical development. I am impressed with the Company’s novel technology platform and also with the Board and its strategy to support the Company. I look forward to driving Topas’ development efforts and advancing our exciting programs into and through the clinic and the regulatory process.”

Topas Therapeutics Signs Multi-year Research and Option Agreement with Lilly Focused on Immune Tolerance

  • Work will utilize Topas’ novel approach for antigen-specific tolerance induction
  • Lilly has option to in-license and further develop drug candidates produced under the collaboration

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (Topas), a Hamburg, Germany-based private company, today announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) to collaborate in the field of antigen-specific tolerance induction with an initial focus on external antigens thought to induce inflammation and/or autoimmune disease. Topas will be responsible for conducting pre-clinical proof-of-principle studies in collaboration with Lilly to generate drug candidates. Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly has an option for all candidates produced under the collaboration for in-licensing and further development. Topas will receive R&D; funding and participate in the future success of any compounds in-licensed by Lilly. Financial details of the collaboration are not being disclosed.

Topas’ technology platform induces antigen-specific immune tolerance by harnessing the liver’s natural immunology capabilities; peptide-loaded nanoparticles are selectively targeted towards liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs). LSECs are one of the body’s premier sites to induce tolerance against bloodborne antigens by generating peptide-specific regulatory T cells.

Timm Jessen, CEO of Topas Therapeutics, said: “We are excited to be working with Lilly to generate drug candidates using our proprietary technology. We expect this work to support the value of our approach in inducing tolerance also against external antigens. Additionally, the interest from such an important pharmaceutical company in our technology, we believe, supports the strong commercial potential of our work.”

Thomas F. Bumol, Ph.D., senior vice president of biotechnology and immunology research at Lilly, added: “Lilly is committed to be an innovation leader in immunology. Topas has a very novel approach to immune tolerance induction, which we would like to see successfully applied to certain disease relevant antigens. We look forward to working together with Topas on their unique platform.”

Paul Sekhri Joins Topas Therapeutics as Chairman of the Board

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (“Topas”), a privately held biotech company pursuing a novel liver-based immune tolerance approach, today announced the election of Paul Sekhri as Chairman of the Board effective immediately.

Paul Sekhri is currently CEO and President of the US based company Lycera Corporation (New York / NY & Ann Arbor / MI). Mr Sekhri has gained a wealth of experience in pharma, biotech and in the investment community – both in Europe and the US – by serving in various leading management positions in e.g. Sanofi, Teva, Novartis, Ariad and the TPG Capital group (TPG Biotech).

Pete Finan, former Chairman of Topas, stated: “We are delighted that Paul has joined our Board. With his wealth of experience he is an ideal fit to our team and adds significant value to support the next exciting steps in Topas’ development by building the bridge into the US with respect to the financial and partnering community.”

Paul Sekhri commented: “Topas clearly has breakthrough potential in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, allergies and anti-drug immune reactions. I am excited to become part of this professional team and to foster the development and commercialization of such innovative products.”

Following this appointment, the Board now consists of Paul Sekhri (Chairman), Pete Finan (Epidarex, Vice Chairman), Werner Lanthaler (Evotec), Karl Nägler (Gimv), Jan Adams (EMBL Ventures) and Erich Greiner (Cedrus Therapeutics).

Evotec Spins Off Auto-immune Disease Company as ‘Topas Therapeutics GmbH’

  • Topas Therapeutics GmbH is based on a proprietary nanoparticle platform which supports antigen-specific tolerance induction for multiple indications
  • Strong consortium consisting of Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures, Gimv and Evotec AG supports strategic Series A financing round of EUR 14 m
  • Initiation of first clinical trials expected in 2017

Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX, ISIN: DE0005664809) today announced the formation of a spin-off company in the field of nanoparticle-based therapeutics to treat immunological disorders.

Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures and Gimv participated together with Evotec in the EUR 14 m ($ 15.75 m) Series A round of Topas Therapeutics GmbH. Evotec will remain the largest shareholder after the financing round.

The new company, Topas Therapeutics GmbH (“Topas”), aims to build a unique pipeline of clinical-stage development projects to treat autoimmune diseases. The proceeds of the Series A funding enable Topas to expand and accelerate its proprietary liver-based tolerance induction platform and to progress with its own product development efforts in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis into clinical proof-of-concept (“POC”) stage.

Dr Timm Jessen, Chief Executive Officer of Topas, stated: “We are delighted to engage with such a strong and experienced consortium of investors who share with us the excellence and commercial potential of this unique mode to induce antigen-specific tolerance in autoimmune diseases and beyond.”

Dr Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec and interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Topas, commented: “We are very excited by Topas’ unique product-platform technology, which has significant breakthrough potential. The company formation of Topas is the first example of an acceleration of our business model representing an optimal risk-reward profile up to clinical proof-of-concept stage for our shareholders in selected fields of high strategic medical relevance.”

Peter Finan PhD, Partner at Epidarex Capital, commented: “Topas Therapeutics’ unique approach to tolerance has the potential to lead to transformative medicines in diseases of high unmet medical need. We are delighted to have led the financing with such strong co-investors and we look forward to working closely with the Topas team to realise this potential.”

About Epidarex Capital

Epidarex Capital invests in early-stage, high growth life science and health technology companies in under-ventured markets within the UK and US. Epidarex was created to meet the need for more sector-specific risk capital for young companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities. The fund’s international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market. For further information please visit www.epidarex.com

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS – Information set forth in this press release contains forward-looking statements, which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgement of Evotec as of the date of this press release. Such forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in these forward-looking statements. We expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Topas Therapeutics Raises EUR 14 Million to Treat Immunological Disorders

  • Causal therapies based on novel approach for antigen-specific tolerance induction
  • Significant opportunities through near term clinical proof-of-concept (“POC”)
  • Strong strategic syndicate includes Epidarex Capital, EMBL Ventures, Gimv, and Evotec AG

Topas Therapeutics GmbH (“Topas”), a Hamburg/Germany based company, today announced the closing of its Series A financing round. This investment provides the company with EUR 14 million (USD 15.75 million). The round was led by Epidarex Capital and includes EMBL Ventures, Gimv and Evotec AG. The proceeds enable Topas to expand and accelerate its proprietary tolerance induction platform and to progress with its product development to POC stage in multiple autoimmune and inflammatory indications including multiple sclerosis.

Topas is spun out from Evotec and is based on a licensed technology from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (“UKE”) where it was invented by Dr Johannes Herkel and colleagues.

Topas’ unique platform is built on proprietary nanoparticles which selectively target liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (“LSECs”) and deliver peptides to such cells. LSECs are one of the body’s premier sites to induce tolerance against blood borne antigens by generating peptide-specific regulatory T cells; this natural pathway is utilized by the Topas technology and applied to treat autoimmune diseases, allergies and drug induced immune reaction where the antigen and its respective antigenic peptides are known. Pre-clinical development for multiple sclerosis is underway and Phase I studies in MS are expected to commence in 2017. The investors supporting Topas have extensive experience in leveraging platform technologies to develop and commercialize multi-product opportunities. Eli Lilly and Company is one of several investors in Epidarex Capital and as such is committed to creating new research and development models to sustain the flow of novel medicines and innovation to patients around the world.

Timm Jessen, CEO of Topas Therapeutics, said: “We are thrilled to have gathered such an experienced and strong consortium to prove this unique approach successful in the clinics – that is our clear goal. Evotec has been of tremendous help to prepare for this endeavour, and we are delighted to see them joining the financing round as well.”

Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec and interim Supervisory Board Chairman of Topas Therapeutics, added: “Topas has the potential for ground-breaking products in the area of tolerance induction and will bring this approach to clinical execution with its great team. This company formation gives Evotec and its shareholders an optimal risk-reward leverage in the field of immunological disorders.”

Peter Finan PhD, Partner at Epidarex Capital commented: “Topas Therapeutics’ unique approach to tolerance has the potential to lead to transformative medicines in diseases of high unmet medical need. We are delighted to have led the financing with such strong co-investors and we look forward to working closely with the Topas team to realise this potential.”

Dr Karl Nägler, Partner Gimv Health & Care commented: “Antigen specific immune tolerance approaches have recently gained increasing momentum with investors and corporates. We are excited to add Topas with its best-in-class technology and outstanding management team to our life sciences portfolio.”

M Johnston Erwin, VP Corporate Business Development, Eli Lilly and Company commented: “Topas’ approach has the potential to provide new treatment options on multiple layers for patients with devastating autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.”

About Epidarex Capital

Epidarex Capital invests in early-stage, high growth life science and health technology companies in under-ventured markets within the UK and US. Epidarex was created to meet the need for more sector-specific risk capital for young companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities. The fund’s international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market. For further information please visit www.epidarex.com

About EMBL Ventures

EMBL Ventures is an independent venture capital investor that manages two Funds with a total of €68 million capital on behalf of major European institutional and private investors. EMBL Ventures’ close relationship with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and its technology transfer organization, EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM), allows it to finance disruptive technologies in an entrepreneurial start-up environment, aiming ultimately for a transaction with a partner that is seeking to acquire external product innovation. EMBL Ventures is exclusively focused on life-science investments. For further information please visit www.embl-ventures.com

About Gimv

Gimv is a European investment company with over three decades experience in private equity and venture capital. The company is listed on Euronext Brussels. Gimv currently manages around 1.8 billion EUR (including co-investment partnerships) of investments in about 50 portfolio companies. As a recognized market leader in selected investment platforms, Gimv identifies entrepreneurial and innovative companies with high-growth potential and supports them in their transformation into market leaders. Gimv’s four investment platforms are: Connected Consumer, Health & Care, Smart Industries and Sustainable Cities. Each of these platforms works with a skilled and dedicated team across Gimv’s home markets of the Benelux, France and Germany and can count on an extended international network of experts. More information on Gimv can be found on www.gimv.com

About Evotec

Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide providing the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery solutions, covering all activities from target-to-clinic. The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuroscience, pain, metabolic diseases as well as oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases. Evotec has long-term discovery alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, CHDI, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MedImmune/AstraZeneca, Roche and UCB. In addition, the Company has existing development partnerships and product candidates both in clinical and pre-clinical development. These include partnerships with Boehringer Ingelheim and MedImmune in the field of diabetes, with Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the field of depression and with Roche in the field of Alzheimer’s disease. For additional information please go to www.evotec.com.

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