Bioxodes SA, a company developing products derived from natural sources, has completed a EUR 2.6 million (USD 3.5 million) first seed funding round with a consortium of business angels and Belgian investment funds. EUR 1.6 million is from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Walloon Region in Belgium via the Retech program for Research and Technology. It will be used to bring the company’s lead product Ir-CPI into pre-clinical development over the next 18 months.
Bioxodes, led by its founding CEO and chief scientific officer, 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 focused on establishing the molecular basis of host-parasite relationships. Prior to the financing, Bioxodes had completed discussions with the ULB for the transfer of full ownership of patents relevant to Ir-CPI.
Ir-CPI is an antithrombotic derived from tick’s saliva, with the unprecedented property of inhibiting clotting at doses which do not cause bleeding. Thanks to a novel mechanism, Ir-CPI is potentially the world’s first injectable antithrombotic for use in all patient groups without causing high levels of bleeding. There is also potential to eliminate reversal or ‘washing out’ at the end of critical procedures. The market for an injectable form of such a molecule for use in hospitals is estimated to exceed USD 1 billion annually. According to Visiongain, the world antithrombotic drug market will reach revenue of USD 24.3 billion in 2015.
Ticks rank second only to mosquitoes as global vectors of disease. Research conducted in Prof. Godfroid’s laboratory has established the molecular basis of the parasitic relationship that a tick establishes with its vertebrate host. The particular tick studied is known as Ixodes ricinus, familiar to some as the carrier of Lyme disease. Ixodes ricinus is considered capable of infesting most terrestrial vertebrates in Europe.
Following a bite the tick feeds on the blood of its host. A particular characteristic of this feeding is its extended duration of up to two weeks. This long feeding involves no pain, blood clotting or inflammation. Scientists believe that such effects result from the presence of active principles in the saliva of the tick.
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.”